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THH bukkh: i-:ffi()v, glixsk, county oaiavav. 

II. S. Ckawiokh, fhoto 







M.R.I.A., F.R.S.A.I. 





In this first History of the County some errors must be 
expected, but I trust that they will be found to be very few 
as to matters of fact. Some opinions are new, for which 
general acceptance cannot be expected at once, but it is my 
hope that such readers as study the evidence for themselves 
will agree with me, if not wholly, to a great extent. 

The fulness of the parts dealing with the thirteenth and 
early fourteenth centuries, and again of those dealing with 
the latter half of the sixteenth century, as compared with the 
part relating to the intervening two hundred years, is due to 
the want of full English Records after the King ceased to 
govern in Connaught. 

Ecclesiastical affairs are passed over lightly, because they 
have been dealt with already in my " Notes on the Dioceses 
of Tuam and Killala and Achonry," published when I did not 
expect to finish this history, for which they were prepared. 

If the Genealogical Tables seem unnecessary in number, 
and inclusive of names not wanted for this book, it is because 
it is impossible to understand fully the alliances of clans and 
tribes and their quarrels, external and internal, without a 
knowledge of the family relationships in which they usually 
originated. These tables are, generally, not accessible in print, 
and they will be necessary to those who carry on the history 
of the Mayo families into the next century. 

My thanks are due to His Grace the Archbishop of 



Canterbury for leave to publish parts of the '■ Division of 
Connaught and Thomond, 1574." 

To the Librarian of Trinity College, Dublin, for leave to 
use the translations of the " Historia et Genealogia Familire 
de Burgo." 

To the Council of the Royal Irish Academy for leave to 
use extracts from " MacFirbis's Great Book of Genealogies." 

To the Council of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of 
Ireland for the loan of the blocks of the Maps in pp. 326, 
328, 338. 

To the Controller of His Majesty's Stationery Office for 
leave to quote from the Irish Annals, the Calendars, and 
other publications of that office. 

To Mr. H. S. Crawford for the use of his photograph of 
the Glinsk Effigy of William Burke. 

To the representative of the late Rev. D. Murphy for 
leave to quote from his " Life of Hugh Roe O'Donnell." 

H. T. KNOX. 

March 2, 1908. 


A. C.= Annals of Clonmacnoise (Murphy's Edition). Volume of the 

Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland. 
A.I. = Annals of lunisfallen in O'Conor's " Rerum Hibernicarum Scrip- 
tores Veteres." 
A.T. = Annals of Tigernach in Revue Ccltiquc. 
A.U. = Annals of Ulster. Rolls Series. 

C. = Chief or king of tribe. 
C.S. = Cbronicum Scotorum. Rolls Series. 
D.F. = Annals of Duald MacFirbis in Miscellany of Irish Archajological 

Society, vol. i. 
D.I. = Calendar of Documents relating to Ireland, 1172-1307. 
D.K. = Annual Report of the Deputy Keeper of the Public Records, 

F.M. = Annals of the Four Masters (O'Donovan's Translation). 
Hist, et Gen. = Historia et Genealogia Familite de Burgo. See Appendix. 

H.F. = Tribes and Customs of Hy Fiachrach (O'Donovan's Translation). 
K.C., K.I. = King of Connaught, King of Ireland. 
L.C.=: Annals of Loch Ce. Rolls Series. 
O.S.L.M.= Ordnance Survey Letters, County Mayo. 

P.R.=Plea Rolls in the Public Record Office, Dublin. 
R. S. A.I. = Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, including 

its earlier titles. 
S.P.I.E. = State Papers, Ireland, Queen Elizabeth. In the Public Record 
Office, London. In the Calendar of State Papers, Ireland, 
Henry VIII., &c. In a few cases the originals have been 
S.T.L. = Stokes's Edition of the Tripartite Life of St. Patrick. Rolls 



The Earliest Legends. 


Iberians — Celts or Gael — Tribes of earliest legends — " Invasions of Ire- 
land " — Three kingdoms of the Olnegmacht — Queen Meave's period — 
Clann Umoir — Attacottic revolution and Tuathal Techtmar — Clann 
Morna and Conn Cedcatnach — Battle of Moj'lena — The Fianna — 
Cormac MacArt and Lugni Firtri — Cairbre Liffeacliair and Clann 
Morna ............. 1 


The Early Milesian Period. 

Probable transformation of Olnegmacht clans into Milesians — Kingdom 
of Irrusdomnonn and its constituent tribes — Other tribes of Mayo — 
Those of rest of Connaught — Book of Rights 15 

The Fifth Century and Establishment of Christianity. 

Brian and Fiachra — Family rivalry — Fiachra, Dathi, Duach Galach, and 
St. Patrick — St. Patrick's early work — Amalgaid — St. Patrick's tour 
in S. Mavo — Death of Amalgaid, and St. Patrick's visit to Tirawlev 
— Ailill Molt— Battle of Segais '.24 


From Accession of Eoghan Bel to a.d. 800. 

Christian mission work in sixth century — Battle of Sligo — Quarrels of 
Guaire and Muredach, and murder of St. Cellach-.-Ailill Inbanna — • 
Decay of kingdom of Irrusdomnonn — Later events — Establishment 
of great monasteries — Influence on architecture 31 


From a.d. 800 to the Anglo-Norman Invasion. 

Invasions by Northmen — Partition between O'Dowda and O'Keewan — 
Round Towers — Wars with Munster and Ulster — Rise of Torlogh 
Mor — Sea fight near Inishowen — Relations of King of Connaught 
with sub-kings — Ecclesiastical affairs ....... 38 



Relations of the King of Conxaugiit with the King of 
England in the Twelfth and Thikteenth Centuries. 


Ruaidhri's settlement in 1175 — Quarrels with sons — Cathal Crobhderg's 
settlements in 1201 and 1215 — Aedh's rebellion — Partition of Con- 
naught in 1228 — Submission of Felim in 12;J7 — Rebellion of his son 
Aedh — O'Conor's lordship reduced to three cantreds — Subsequent 
relations 51 

State of the Country from 1170 to 1237 59 


Events from 1170 to 1224. 

Rebellion of Murrough O'Conor — Cathal Crobhderg invades Munster — 
Castlehag — William de Burgo's invasions — He turns against Cathal — 
Death — Notices of Mayo chieftains 62 


From Accession of Aedh to the Submission of Felim 
in 1237. 

Rebellion against Aedh and invasion of Mayo, 1225 — Aedh's rebellion — 
Invasion of 1226— Partition of Coimaught in 1228— Invasion of 1230 
— Arrest of Felim — Release and attack on R. de Burgo — Invasion of 
1235, and fighting in Clew Bay — O'Conors rise in 1237 — Peace and 
colonisation ............ 72 


Ecclesiastical Affairs to the Sixteenth Century. 

Effects of transfer of endowments and imposition of tithes — New style 
of abbeys and parish churches — Appointment of bishops — Power 
of King and Pope — Decay of cathedral and parish clergy — Parish 
church architecture — Growth of monastic clergy and architecture — 
List of monasteries — Course of Reformation ...... 90 

Enfeoffment and Colonisation. 

Organisation of Connaught lordship — Division of Mayo into fees — Early 
barons' castles — Manors, tuaths, duns, and motes — Early manor 
houses or castles — Manor of Lehinch — Market towns . . . .101 



Changes of Appearance of Country. 


Duns, cahers, and raths — Dwelling-houses — Woods and water — Tillage 
— Crannogs- — The great high forts — Roads — Ecclesiastical cashels 
and towns — Round towers and stone churches — Anglo-Norman 
buildings 109 


From the Colonisation to the Death of Earl Walter. 

Incidents in 1246 — O'Conor raids and rising in Umall — Sheriff killed by 
pirates — MacCostellos fight with O'Conors — Invasions by Aedh O'Conor 
— War of Burkes and Geraldines — War with Aedh O'Conor — Defeat of 
Earl Walter at Athanchip 113 


The Time of Earl Richard. 

Rising and expulsion of Clan Murtough — Battle of Kilroe — Imprisonment 
of the Earl by John FitzThomas — Settlement — Sir W. de Burgo — 
Wars of Thomond — Bruce war and O'Conor war — Battle of Athenry . 120 


From Death of Earl Richard to the Fall of the 
King's Government in Connaught. 

Walter de Burgo and the O'Conors — His rebellion and death — Murder of 
Earl William — Sir Edmond and Edmond Albanagh and the O'Conors 
quarrel — Murder of Sir Edmond — Consequences 130 


The De Burgo Family in Connaught and their Irish 

Keighbours 137 


Establishment of the MacWilliamship 142 


The First MacWilliams. 

Edmond Albanagh — Fights with Clanmorris — O'Conor factions— Fights 
with Berminghams — Sir Edmond's son invades Connaught — Rise of 
Richard Og — Edmond and Clanricard— Subdues Clanricard — Appear- 
ance of Gallowglasses — His son Thomas — Position as MacWilliam — 
Wars with neighbours — Wars of the two O'Conors — Admits superiority 
of Richard Og — Submits to King Richard — The De Exeters — Barretts 
rise against him — General attack on Sligo O'Conors — Counties of Mayo 
and Sligo take shape 146 



The MacWilliams, Soxs and Grandsons of Sir Thomas 

BOURKE— 1401 TO 1503. 

Outline of events in his sons' time — Walter — Various fighting — Defeat at 
Ath Lighen — Peace in 1420 between the MacWilliams — At war in 1430 
— Great famine — Edmond na Fesoige — Forces Upper MacWilliam to 
submit — Famine and plague — Barrett quarrel — O'Kellys of Donamona 
— Thomas Og — Richard — Period of the grandsons of Sir Thomas — 
Richiird O'Cuairsci — Invades Galway with O'Donnoll — Battle of 
Glanog — Allies quarrel over O'Conors of Sligo— Consequent warfare — 
Theobald — The Bourkes quarrel — Battle of Ardnarea with O'Donnell 
— The Bourkes and Barretts — P^'ace with O'Donnell — Ships sent to 
Tirconnell — Lord Deputy sets up O'Conor Donn — Theobald puts him 
down .............. 154 


From 1503 to 1550. 

General course of events — Edmond III. — Battle of Knockdoe — Murder of 
John Bourke — Skirmishes with O'Donnell in Leyny and Tireragh — 
Murder of Edmond — John I. — Meyler — Edmond IV — Connaught 
marches against O'Donnell and retreats — O'Donnell invades Tirawley — 
Takes Castlemore — John II. of the Termon — Uiick — O'Dowdas and 
Ardnarea — Theobald II. — Barretts and Bourkes — Succession of 
MacWilliams unknown — Revival of king's power .... 162 


From 1550 to 1568. 

Fighting between Bourkes — John MacOliverus and Scots defeated in the 
Curlews — David, MacWilliam — Bourkes and Scots defeated at Cloonee 
— Richard III. visits the Lord Deputy — Settlement of disputes with 
Lord Clanricard — Claims to Moyne Castle — Sidney comes to Galway . 170 


From the Formation of the County of Mayo to the 
Death of Sir N. Malbie. 

Government of Connaught formed — The county defined^The cess — Battle 
of Shrule — Submission of Bourkes — Fear of changes — Sir John 
MacOliverus — Rebellion — Fitton's operations, 1571 — MacWilliam 
rebels and submits — " Division of Connaught" — Sidney proposes com- 
position — His account of Mayo — Rebellion of Earl's sons — Grace 
O'Malley — Richard an larainn's rising — Death of Sir John — Malbie 
establishes Richard an larainn — Rising of Richard MacOliverus — He 
becomes MacWilliam — Malbie's work in Connaught .... 175 


The Composition for Cess and the Introduction of the 

English Law 199 



From the Composition to the Return of Sir R. Bingham 

IN 1588. 


The composition introduced — Death of Sir R. Boiirke — Castlehag rising- 
Lord Deputy's intervention — Extinction of MacWilliamship and spread 
of rebellion — Suppression — Execution of Edmond of Castlebar — In- 
vasion by Scots — Battle of Ardnarea — Charges against Bingham and 
acquittal — Remarks on composition — Composition for Costello — 
Administration of law — English settlers 205 


From the Coming of the Spanish Armada to the Peace 
OF 1589. 

Spanish ships on this coast — Execution of Justin MacDonnell — Beginning 
of rebellion — Weakness of Government — John Browne's commission — 
Rebels kill him — Spread of rebellion — Demands of rebels — Battle of 
Carras — Peace negotiations and their failure — Bingham's action 
against rebels — Lord Deputy withdraws him and sues for peace — 
Further action of rebels — Their submission 220 


The Persecution of Sir R. Bingham and the Suppression 
OF the Rebellion. 

Unfair arrangements for trial of the Governor — Trial and acquittal — Martial 
law — Fitz William's circuit — Taking up of cattle — Scots land in Erris — 
Blind Abbot proclaimed MacWilliam — Parleying with rebels — Orders 
from England for action — Further parleying — Bingham ordered to act 
— The march through Mayo — The Blind Abbot loses his foot — Peace . 237 

From 1590 to 1595. 

Defeat of Scots in Erris — Attack on John Bingham — Some social conditions 
— Attack on the sessions — Operations against rebels and terms of peace 
—Arrest of Tibbot na Long — Grace O'Malley in England — Her petitions 
and answers — Richard Bourke's raid from Ulster ..... 246 


The Breakdown of Government. 

Murder of George Bingham and loss of Sligo Castle — Consequences — 
O'Donnell's raid — Sickness of soldiers — Disastrous attempt to relieve 
Belleek — Mayo abandoned to the rebels — Charges against Sir R. Bing- 
ham — His flight to England — His government ..... 256 


O'Donnell's Domination' and the Final Peace. 


Rebels refuse to meet Sir W. Russell — O'Donnell makes a MacWilliam — 
Sir J. Norris brings an army to Mayo, negotiates, and retires — 
Clifford's operations — Terms of peace in Mayo — List of pledges — 
Agreement with Tibbot na Long — Raids from Ulster — Conditions at 
end of 1597 — Defeat of the Yt-llow Ford and rebellion in Connaught — 
Crannog of Lahardane — Defeat of the Yellow Pass — Tibbot na Long's 
fleet at Sligo — Terms between the two 'J'ibbots — Mayo rebels in Mun- 
ster — Tibbot na Long bangs Dermot O'Conor — Plot for capture of 
O'Donnell — Richard Bourke set up as MacWilliam and killed — Battle 
of Kinsale establishes the queen's supremacy ..... 263 

The Barony of Kilmaine. 

Early tribes — Norman settlement — Bourke division — MacSeonins — Mac- 

Tibbots— MacMeylers— MacDonnells 280 


The Barony of Carra. 

Early tribes — Norman settlement — Stauntons — Branaghs — MacPhilpins — 
Sauvages — Barrys — Bourke divisions — O'Kellys — MacDonnells — 
Formation of barony 286 


The Barony of Tirawley. 

Early tribes — Mullaghorne— Hy Fiachrach clans — Their chiefs — Norman 
settlement — Barrett, Carew, and Cusack claims — Barrett estates and 
clans — Branaghs — MacAnallys — Cusacks — Carews — Lynotts — Mer- 
ricks — De Exeters — Berminghams and Ardnarea — Feud of Barretts 
and Lynotts — MacDonnells — Bourkes 289 


The Barony of Erris. 

The chieftains — Clan Murtough — De Exeters — Butlers — Fleming — 

Barretts — Bourkes 298 


The Barony of Burrishoole. 

Formation of barony — Clan Murtough — Butlers — Bourke clans — Mac- 
Donnells — Manor of Aghagower 300 


The Barony of Murrisk. 


Aicill and Umall — Clann Maille — Exploits by sea — Obits — Cruachan of 
Aigill and Belclare Castle — Lawless estate — MacGibbons — Crannog 
of Moher Lake 303 


The Barony of Gallen. 

Formation of barony — Division among De Exeters — Gaelic freeholders — De 
Exeter family — Malbie's settlement between MacJordan and Mac- 
William — Entries in Annals 307 


The Barony of Costello. 

Early tribes — Early de Angulos — Norman partition — De Angulo lord of 
Sliabh Lugha — South Costello — Theobald Dillon — Division under 
MacCostellos — War of MacCostellos and MacDermots — Notices of 
MacCostellos — Their genealogy 313 


The Barony of Clanmorris. 

Early tribes and divisions — Prendergasts — FitzfSimons, &c. — Independence 

of MacWilliams 321 


The Barony of Ross. 

Early tribes— The Joys 324 

A P P E N D T E S. 

I. The Early Legends 325 

II. Agreement between the Earl of Ulster and Sir 

John FitzThomas 341 

III. Inquisitions taken after the Death of William, 

Earl of Ulster 343 

IV. The Divisions of Connaught, 1570, 1574 . . . .346 





VI. Indenture of Composition for Co. Mayo . . . 356 

VII. Indenture of Composition for Iar Connaught . . 3t;9 

VIII. Barrett Inquisitions ....... 870 

TX. Genealogical and other Tables of (!aelic Families. 

1. Revised view of early tribal relations, p. 373. 2. Domnonian kings of 
Connaught and pedigrees, p. 374. 3. Succession of kings of Connaught 
down to Eochy Moyvane, p. 374. 4. The Irish genealogical system, 
p. 375. 5. Relationship of principal Milesian clans, p. 37(J. G. Relation- 
ship of Hy Fiachrach clans, north and south, p. 378. 7. 'i"ho race of 
Dathi, p. 37'.t. 8. The clans of Hy Briuin of Connaught, p. 381. 9. The 
Hy Briuin Ai, p. 382. 10. The Sihnnrray clans, p. 383. 11. Genealogy 
of Torlogh Mor O'Conor, p. 384. 12. Succession of kings of Connaught 
of race of Eochy Moyvane, p. 387. 13. Ui Briuin of'Umhall, p. 388. 
14. Clan Donnell Galloglass of Mayo and Tireragh, p. 390. 

X. Genealogical and other Tables of English Families. 

1. Succession of the Mac Williams, p. 395. 2. Relationships of the Lower 
MacWilliams, p. Situ. 3. Relationships of the Upper MacWilliams, 
p. 39t). 4. The chief de Burgo clans of Ireland, p. 397. 5. Descend- 
ants of Sir Edmond Albanagh, Sliocht Walter, p. 399. 6. The Bourkes 
of Castlebar, Carra, and Umall, p. 400. 7. Sliocht IJlick of Carra and 
Umall, p. 402. 8. Sliocht Ricaird of Tirawley, p. 404. 9. Clan Seonin, 
p. 406. 10. Clan Philij', p. 407. 11. Clan Gibbon of Umall, p. 408. 12. 
Sliocht Ulick of Umall, p. 411. 13. Clan David and Clan Walter of 
Corcamoe, p. 412. 14. The Burkes of Munster, p. 413. 15. The Joys 
of Ross, p. 414. 16. The Barretts, p. 416. 17. Clan Jordan of Gallon 
and Clan Stephen, p. 41«. 18. Clan Costello, p. 420. 

INDEX 424 


THE BUEKE EFFIGY AT GLINSK . . . Frontispiece 
PORTKAIT OF SIR R. BINGHAM . . . To face p. 199 



THE FIFTH CENTURY . . Between pp. 24 aiul 25 


Between pp. 100 and 101 





Mex who used the Paleolithic tools once inhabited these countries, 
but it is supposed that a gap due to change of climate separated them 
from those of the Neolithic, or Polished Stone, Period. The first 
race identified in Ireland is the Iberian, known to have inhabited 
nearly all France, the Bi-itish Isles, Spain, and the north-western 
parts of Africa, now recognised in the Basques, the Guanches of the 
Canary Isles, and the Berbers of Morocco. They are the foundation 
upon which have settled strata of Celts, Scandinavians, and English, 
and are held to be the element which supplies the people with black 
hair, blue or grey eyes, sallow complexions, and fine features. 

To them are attributed the dolmens or cromlechs ; the stone circles, 
mounds, and cairns with small cists to the Celts. These forms pass 
into each other and are combined, as each race was influenced by the 
practices of the other and by change of fashion. The great chambered 
cairns seem to be the greatest result of the combination of both styles, 
and to have fallen out of use before the historic or even legendary 
period, being supplanted by buiial in cists in small mounds and raths. 
Cremation was in use when they were made. They are unsuitable for 
disposal of unburnt bodies. 

The earliest monuments show burnt remains, then a period of 
burial, followed by burning and burial. The practices were to some 
extent contemporaneous as new fashions came in. There is some 
indication that burning was practised even up to the Christian 
period, but it must have been rare, as the legends and annals do 
not clearly refer to it. 

Upon the Iberians came the Celts from the countries about the 
Danube and Central Germany, occupying France, Northern Italy, a 
great part of Spain, and the British Isles. These were the Gael or 
Cruithne, who were long afterwards followed by the British Celts who 



supplanted them in Northei'u France and nearly all England, but 
made no settlements in Ireland, or only .small colonies which were 
absorbed by the Gael. 

The Gael of Ireland were a long-headed race. The monuments 
testify to the settlement of round-headed men in Ireland, whom 
Mr. Borlase identifies as the Celtse of Cajsar, who must have been 
few in number, as they have not left marked traces in the population, 
and are known only by their skulls in tumuli.^ 

The Iberian population had lost its identity before the period of 
the oldest legends, which never mention such a race as extant in 
Ireland. The ancient Irish historians identified the dark type with 
the Firbolg, but this identification does not show the existence of 
a separate race, because their legends show a common descent of 
Firbolg, Tuatha De Danann, and Milesians. 

The best opinion seems to be that the Celts came to these isles 
about 1250 B.C., bringing bronze into Ireland, if the Iberians had not 
already got it by trade, as is most probable. The second Celtic 
invasion of Britain is assigned to the fourth century B.C. Iron had 
come into use somewhat earlier. 

The Dolmens are of almost any period before history. The cairns 
of New Grange, Dowth, and Lough C'rew are believed by Mr. Coffey, 
on evidence of ornament inscribed on stone, to range from about 800 
to 300 B.C. Thus they would coincide with the coming of the Gael 
in their beginning, and in their end with the introduction of new 
fashions into Britain by the Belgic Celts. 

No credit can be given to the ancient history of invasions of 
Ireland by Parthalon, Nemed, Firbolg, Tuatha De Danann, and 
Milesians. At these invasions represent vague legends of 
early Celtic migration. Examination shows that they deal with 
events which occurred when the Gael had been long established in 
the land, and were broken vip into clans as in the historical period, 
and that those events were of local rather than national importance. 

The Fomorians were northern families who took their name from 
an ancestor named Fomor. The name appears in the pedigree of the 
Irian race of Ulster. They are the same as the Uladh of later legend. 
The Tuatha De Danann were clans of Meath and Connaught, ancestors 
of the Delbna^ Cianachta, Luighne, and Gailenga of later times. They 
were acknowledged to be related to the Domnonians by descent from 
Nemed, who descended from Partholan's brother. 

The Domnonians are called Firbolg, a name of obscure meaning 

which comprises Danonians, though it came to be restricted to the 

Firdomnonn, Firgaileoin, and Firbolg. I cannot find that the last 

named had any distinct existence, unless the general name stuck to a 

^ Borlase, " Dolmens of Ireland," p. 1012. 


clan of the Domnonians, being abandoned by others in favour of new 
names, the usual course in subdivision of Irish royal families. The 
only trace I find of it is in the Bolg Tuath of Badgna, D. MacFirbis 
tells us that the Bolg Tuath, the Gabry of the Suck, the Cathry, and 
the Cruithne of Croghan were descendants of Genann, son of Dela.^ 
The Firgaileoin are identified without doubt as Tuatha De Danann of 
Meath and as Cruithne. 

If I am right in recognising the Delbna, Luighne, and Gailenga as 
Danonians, their distribution in Meath and Connaught, the traditional 
descent of Danonians and Domnonians, and the evidence of the legends 
combine to prove that they were two great clans of the Gael, who 
fought with each other and with the Fomorach for supremacy in these 
provinces and in Leinster, and that there was no more difference 
between them than between Hy ISTeill, Hy Briuin, and Hy Fiachrach 
of history. 

All these tribes are of the same great Cruithne race, which includes 
the Irian race of Ulster, and is the Gael of Ireland. In later times 
the Milesians arrogated to themselves the name of Gael. 

The Milesian pedigree before the fourth century is untrustworthj'. 
It is likely that a man of the Domnonian royal family of Connaught 
or Meath went to Spain, and acquired distinction and the name of 
Miled of Spain in the wars between the Celts and the Romans, or 
between the Celts themselves. Miled is an Irish form of Miles^ and 
translates Galam, his Irish name. His sons may have returned to 
Ireland. So far there is nothing improbable. He has been utilised 
in making up Milesian genealogies, largely fictitious, but probably 
made up of names of real persons available in tradition. The true 
ancestry of Eochy Feidhlech is Domnonian. Tuathal Techtmai' was 
a scion of one of the branches of the Domnonian royal family of Con- 
naught. When it acquired pre-eminence a pedigree was worked up, 
and many of the great families which maintained their position were 
in course of time grafted on it, and so lost their real and greater 
connection. The quai-rels of the three great tribes having ended in 
Domnonian supremacy, the Domnonians themselves were partly turned 
into Eremonians, and partly disavowed and stigmatised as Firbolgs 
and Attacots.- 

Mayo seldom appears in these legends. But it was a large part of 
the kingdom of Irrusdomnonn, which, as defined by Keating, extended 
from the River of Galway to the River Drowse, and seems to have 
been the dwelling-place of the Gamanry clan. 

Though the stories of invasions of Ireland and the dates assigned 
by Irish historians must be set aside, I see no reason to doubt that 

1 " Hist, of Firbolgs." Quoted by Borlase, " Dolmens of Ireland," iii. 1117. 
- For reason, see Appendix. 


the main events are generally accurately marshalled according to 
relative dates, and that they embody some historical facts. 

Partholan killed in battle Cical Grigencosach, great-grandson of 
Uadmor, who is said to have landed at Inver Domnonn, now Broad- 
haven Bay, twenty years after Partholan according to some his- 
torians, to have been in Ireland before him according to others. 
He and his people are called Fomorach, but I take that to be 
because the historians found no tribe name but that of Fomorach in 
the earliest legends, and did not recognise Clann Umoir as then in 
existence. We may take Cical to have been a king of Irrusdom- 
nonn, a MacUmoir. 

Named next appears fighting with Fomorach, whom he defeated in 
three battles, one being at Ros Fhraochain in Connaught, said by 
O'Donovan to be Rosreaghan in Murrisk in this county, a place which 
I cannot identify. There he slew Gann and Genann, two of their 
chiefs. Afterwards the Fomorach got the better of the Xemedians, 
whom they cruelly oppressed. Rivalry may be inferred between the 
clan of Nemed and that of Umoir for the sovereignty of Connaught, 
or perhaps for that of Ireland, which the latter now held for a time. 
It does not appear who Partholan and Nemed were. The indications 
point to chieftains of a great family living to the east of Irrusdom- 
nonn, probably the ruling family in Connaught and Meath, from which 
came the Tuatha De Danann. 

It is impossible to give any kind of date to these legends except 
that they are a shadow of events which occurred before the battles of 
Moytura, which may be dated as not long before the beginning of the 
Christian eia. 

The Nemedians appear again as the Firbolgs, who invade Ireland 
under the command of the five sons of Dela and divide all Ireland 
among themselves, Connaught falling to Genann. The fact is that 
they appear as settled in Ireland, in Meath and Connaught, and that 
members of the family are said to have held the chief sovereignty for 
thirty-seven years. Their last High King, Eochaidh MacErca, made 
Tara the residence of the High King of Ireland. The other branches 
of the clan of Nemed, the Tuatha De Danann, appear and challenge 
the supremacy. The Danonians, having landed on the coast of Sligo 
according to the legend, encamped on Slievanierin. When the Firbolg 
under King Eochaidh prepared to meet them, they went to the west 
and took up a position in front of Mount Belgadan, now called Benlevi, 
that is at Cong, to the west of Magh Nia, the Plain of Heroes, now 
called Moytura. It is a curious feature that they are given as an 
ally Aengabha, King of Iruaithe, which has always been translated 
Norway, the usual meaning of the word. He played a distinguished 
part in the battle. In this case Iruaithe did not mean Norway, but 


the Irish kingdom of Herota or Hirota, which was about Gahvay,^ 
where we find in later days two Delbhna clans. 

The battle began on midsummer day. On the second day Eochaidh 
left the field with 100 men to get water. The three sons of Nemed, 
son of Badrai, and 150 men chased him to the Strand of Ballysadare, 
where Eochaidh and the sons of Nemed were killed in fight. Eochaidh 
was buried where he fell, and a great monument was raised over him, 
which existed until the nineteenth century. The sons of Nemed were 
buried at the west end of the Strand, where the flagstones of the sons 
of Nemed were set up over them. 

After four days' battle the Firbolg were reduced to 300 men under 
Sreng, son of Sengann. Being outnumbered, they accepted peace, 
which left them the province of Connaught. Thus the Danonians 
acquire the sovereignty of Ireland. 

Though the monuments of Moytura Cong have been assigned to 
various persons slain in this battle, and Moytura Cong has been 
accepted as the site, there are good reasons for believing that the 
battle was fought in Coillte Luighne, near another Cong, a denomina- 
tion of land discovered by Col. Wood-Martin in an old survey. That 
site agrees with the position of the Carn of Eochy and the flagstones 
of Nemed's sons, and the explanation of the name of L. Key given by 
Gilla Isu Mor Mac Fii'bisigh in the beginning of the fifteenth century. 
His opinion deserves great respect, and the Cong site does not fit in 
with these incidents and traditions. Unfortunately we cannot place 
mvich reliance on identification of monuments, but it is a matter of 
some significance that the writer of the Tale of the First Battle 
accepted the Strand of Ballysadare as the scene of his death. Yet on 
the whole the matter must remain in doubt, for a king who ran away 
from Cong may have been followed up and killed near Ballysadare. 

The second battle of Moytura does not concern Mayo directly. It 
was between Danonians and Ulster men called Fomorach, aided by 
some Domnonians, who are called Firbolg ancestors of the Clann 
Umoir. No doubt some Clann Umoir men were concerned, but the 
legend does not give their names. 

The Danonian supremacy is said to have lasted 197 years. It 
must have lasted long, as so many families which I class as Danonian 
were settled in Meath and Connaught, but it may have been before 
as well as after the first battle of Moytura. 

The sons of Miled and their cousins, the sons of Ith, now appeal-, 
called collectively Clanna Breogain, and the Tuatha De Danann 
disappear as ruling families, but survive in legend as fairies. 

The Milesians spread quickly over all Ireland except Connaught, 
whose Domnonian kings acknowledged the supremacy of the High 
1 Professor Bury in Eivjlislt Ilist. Review, April 1902, p. 2G4. 


King of T;iia. They were divided into four great brandies, called 
the races of Eremon, Ir, Eber, and Ith. The Irish genealogists of 
later times called all the families whose pedigrees they did not carry 
up to one of these races by the names of Firbolg and Attacot. 

What seem to me to be the true relations between the Domnonians, 
Eremonians, Milesians, Firbolgs, and Attacots are set out in Appen- 
dix I., but for practical purposes of history it is convenient to call 
the tribes by their well-known names, and to accept the tribal group- 
ing which accords with their relations among themselves, though the 
supposed origins be not true. 

Our knowledge now becomes more definite. Connaught is recog- 
nised as comprising three divisions, without very distinct boundaries, 
and under three ruling families, whose history can be traced for three 
hundred years, and even to this day if they have been transformed 
into Milesians as I suppose. 

Fidach, son of Fiach, was King of the Fir Craibe, whose kingdom 
was South Connaught from Limerick, that is from the mouth of the 
Shannon, to the Palace of Fidach. O'Flaberty mentions the " Palace 
of Fidach," Keating only " Fidach," as the boundai-y. The place is 
not known, but as it was a boundary between the Fir Craibe and the 
Tuatha Taiden, we shall not be far wrong if we take it to have been 
a place near the northern and eastern border of Aidhne. 

Eochaidh Allat was King of the Gamanry, over the kingdom of 
Irrusdomnonn, comprising Clann Umoir tribes north of Aidhne, in 
the kingdom of the Hy Briuin Seola, and the lands afterwards of the 
Conmaicne in the county of Galway, all the counties of Mayo and 
Sligo, with the lands of the Gregry and Calry in the counties of 
Roscommon and Leitrim, according to the bounds given, from the 
Eiver of Galway to the rivers Duff and Drowse. But we must 
believe that most of the minor clans gave but slight allegiance to the 
Gamanry in the period now opening, as so great a kingdom would 
have always predominated in Connaught if its tribes had acted 
together. The bounds are likely to have been handed down by very 
ancient tradition, and I should take it to have been really the county 
of Mayo and the countries of the Calry at this time. 

Tinni, son of Curaidh, was King of the Tuatha Taiden, whose 
kingdom comprised the Plain of Sanb, not identified, and the lands of 
the Tuatha Taiden, from the Palace of Fidach towards Tara. It 
seems to represent what was afterwards the great kingdom of Hy 
Many in its largest extent, and may have included the country after- 
wards called the Three Tuatha and most of Magh Ai. 

The Fir Craibe are the chief family of the Clann Umoir, who 
occupied nearly all their kingdom and part of that of Irrusdomnonn. 
From this family came Brian, ancestor of the Hy Briuin of Ai, who 


has been given a false pedigree, and the Conmaicne and Ciarraige 
tribes of Connaught, except the Conmaicne of Moyrein and Annaly, 
who were not in Connaught as known in early times. 

The Gamanry and the Clan Morna branch I believe to be the 
ancestors of the northern Hy Fiachrach, whose Fiachra ancestor has 
been wrongly identified with the Fiachra ancestor of the Hy Fiachrach 
Aidhne, who have been made descendants of his grandson, Eochaidh 
Breac. The Hy Fiachrach Aidhne seem to be of the Clann Umoir 
i-ace from which Brian sprang. In O'Conors, O'Dowdas, O'Kellys, 
and O'Heynes, we may recognise these ancient families. 

Fir Oraibe, Gamanry, and Tuatha Taiden are called Olnegmacht, 
whence the early name of the province of Connaught. 

The detailed reasons for these views will be found in the Appendix, 
and an explanation of the manner in which the royal families changed 
their tribal names, and developed fresh territorial groups, is set out 
in an article in the Journal of the Galway Arcliccological and Historical 
Society, vol. iv. p. 99. 

Some probably historical facts relating to Mayo in this period may 
be gleaned from legends and references in the poems recounting the 
exploits of the Red Branch Heroes and the great wars between Ulster 
and Connaught. The wars seem to be historical, and the principal 
persons may be taken to have existed, though there is great doubt 
regarding their relations with each other. 

Eochaidh Feidhlech and his brother, Eochaidh Airemh,who succeeded 
him as King of Ireland according to the poets and annalists, seem to 
have been kings of Meath and Teffa, a branch of the Domnonians of 
Connaught which sank about this time, but revived under Tuathal 

Eochaidh Allat, King of the Gamanry, was King of Connaught at 
this period, and is reputed to have built Rathcroghan, which was 
called from him Rath Eochaidh. This must refer to the great Rath 
of Croghan, as the place seems to have been for many ages held 
by the Domnonian kings of Connaught, as the earliest Milesians and 
some of the Danonians are said to have been buried in the Releg of 
Croghan. 1 

Tinni, son of Curaidh, King of the Tuatha Taiden, killed Eochaidh 
Allat, and became King of Connaught. 

Eochaidh Allat was succeeded by Ailill Finn as King of the 

Gamanry — that is, of Iri-usdomnonn. Their relationship does not 

appear. Ailill is said to have married Flidais, daughter of Ailill 

Dubh, son of Fidach, son of Fiach. Ailill's ancestry is uncertain, 

^ The name of Cruachan seems to be drawn from the high mound which 
formed a kind of citadel within the great rath, the Little Peak or Rick. From 
such a citadel Cruachan came to be used as a name for a king's fort (//. R.S.A.I., 
xxxi. p. 35). 


except that his mother was Magu of jMuiTisk. Her pedigree is equally 
unknown. She is stated to have married Ailill, son of Cairbre Fir da 
Loch,^ and Cairbre Cennderg.^ Her seven sons were men of note, 
namely, Ailill Finn, Get, Anluan, Mogcorb, Toca, Scandal, Anfind, 
Fergal. There is much confusion in pedigrees from identity of names. 
Magu may have been the name of many other women. Her daughter, 
or the daughter of a Magu, by name Mata, was mother of Cairbre 
Niafer and of Finn File and of Ailill, King of Leinster, who has 
been confused with Ailill, the husband of Queen Meave. Fergal is 
said to have married a daughter of Eochaidh Feidhlech. 

Tinni married the celebrated Meave, Medb, daughter of Eochaidh 
Feidhlech, who after his death married Ailill Mor, King of the 
Tuatha Taiden, who succeeded Tinni as King of Connaught. In 
their time occurred the Tain Bo Cuailgne. Several Ailill Mors of 
this period have been confused. 

Fergus MacRoigh, having been driven out of Ulster, was received 
by Ailill and Meave, and played a principal part on behalf of Con- 
naught in the War of the Tain. He comes into Mayo history only 
if the Tale of the Tain Bo Flidais be based on fact, according to 
which Fergus started from Croghan to attack Ailill Finn's dun, 
which was in the country of Cairbre in the north of the Ciarraige, 
and was reached immediately after passing over Ath Feni. The situa- 
tion answers to that of Ailech Mor at Castlemore Costello. Fergus 
killed Ailill and his sons, and carried off Flidais and her cattle. 

Though Ailill of the Gamanry was in that dun, it does not follow 
that it was the heritable property of the Gamanry clan. He may 
have occupied it only as King of Irrusdomnonn. 

Ferdiad was a warrior of distinction, second only to Cuchulain, 
who was his greatest friend since the days when they Avere together 
in Scathach's military school in Scotland. Meave induces him, much' 
against his will, to engage in duel with Cuchulain, who is defending 
the ford. Cuchulain kills him after a long fight, and the ford is 
called after him Ath Firdiad, Ardee to-day. He is called MacDaire 
MacDaman, chief of the clan Dega, a branch of the Gamanry. In 
Mr. O'Grady's " History of Ireland in the Heroic Period," he is said 
to have lived at Moytura, described as the seat of the kings of Irrus- 
domnonn, " where they held their games and solemn assemblies and 
interred their kings." If Mr. O'Grady has found this distinctly stated 
in a legend, it follows that some of the Gamanry were settled in the 
country afterwards occupied by Conmaicne, and the fair of Ballin- 
challa may have originated in those games. 

The Clann Umoir appear in these legends in a curious way. The 

1 O'Flaherty, " Ogygia," p. 2G!). 

2 " Death of Sons of Usnech," Irische Texte, 2nd series, Pt. U. 


stoi'y handed down thus is that they are Firbolg who went to the 
Western Isles of Scotland after the first battle of Moytura, and about 
this time returned to Ireland and were allowed by Cairbre Niafer 
to settle in the best parts of Breg upon agreements to pay rent, 
Conall Cearnach and Cuchulain of Ulster, Cet MacMagach of Con- 
naught, and Curoi MacDare of Munster or Leinster being their 
svireties. They throw up their tenancies, and are allowed by Queen 
Meave to settle in Connaught, where they built the great drystone 
forts. Their sureties, being called upon by Cairbre, attack them and 
kill each a chieftain. This seems to point to a real event, that before 
Cairbre Niafer's time the Clann Umoir — that is, the race of Fiach or 
Fir Craibe — had been for a time dominant in Breg and had settled 
some families there, who in his time were driven out or subdued, as I 
have suggested more fully in Appendix I. These stories evidently 
were invented after the gi-owth of the Milesian legend to explain the 
presence of MacUmoirs in Breg and in Westmeath. The attack on 
them is useless, as it leaves matters as they were. But the stories 
show their presence aloug the western seaboard of Connaught at this 
very early period. 

A Medon of this clan is supposed to have given his name to Inish- 
maine, and I suppose to Mag Medoin, or the country about Inish- 
maine and Kilmaine. 

At the death of Ailill Mor a war of succession ensued. His son 
Maine Aithremal, supported by the people of Croghan, the Tuatha 
Taiden, the Fir Craibe, and others, defeated Sanb, son of Cet Mac 
Magach, supported by the descendants of Magach, the Clann Umoir, 
and others. The Fir Craibe were of the Clann Umoir, but I take 
them to be a tribe of that race which had developed into a group of 
clans like the Silmurray, and that a number of the old clans retaining 
the old tribe name supported Sanb. We know that in later times 
Clann Umoir occupied much of Sanb's kingdom of Irrusdomnonn. 
Maine reigned for thirty-four years. 

Sanb succeeded him as King of Connaught. For these events in 
Connaught, O'Flaherty's " Ogygia " is my chief authority, considered 
with extant legends and tales, and modified in accordance with my 
own interpretation. 

The events known as the Attacottic Revolutions fell out in the 
period between the death of Meave and the accession of Tuathal in 
A.D. 130. In my opinion, much of the confusion and obscurity of the 
accounts of these events is due to the attempts of the Irish historians 
to reconcile Eremonian genealogy and legend with facts which they 
could not ignore, that Firbolg kings reigned at this period in countries 
which Eremonians should have held. Tuathal Techtmaremerges as king 
of a new and great kingdom of Meath, and history becomes less obscure. 


The Attacots of Irish history are not the Attacots of Roman history. 
Attacotti seems to represent the Irish words Aitec tuata, which O'Curry 
transhxtes, " lent-paying tribes." I prefer " tributary tribes," as 
O'Curry's explanation does not restrict the meaning to rent in our 
sense of the term. The Roman Attacotti seem to have been Celtic 
clans dwelling south of the wall of Antoninus, who submitted to the 
Roman Empire, and in the period of its weakness in the fourth cen- 
tury made raids on the Empire in company with the Pict.s, who were 
the Gael or Cruithne of Alba living north of the wall, and the Scots, 
who were ruling families of the Irish. Aitec tuata distinguished 
them from the free tribes of the same race to north of the wall. 

The Irish writers called all clans not descended from Breogan by 
this name, and applied it to members of the Clanna Breogain who 
had lost rank in various ways. According to this classification all the 
Domnonian kings were Attacots, and so were all the provincial kings 
during the revolutionary period except the kings of Ulster. 

Cairbre Cinnchait, who was made King of Ireland on the first occa- 
sion, seems to be Cairbre, son of Maine, King of the Tuatha Taiden. 

' On the second occasion, Sanb, King of Connaught, is said to have 
taken part in setting up Elim, King of Ulster, as King of Ireland. 

Tuathal Techtmar now appeals, alleged to have taken refuge Avith 
his grandfather, the King of Alba, and to have landed in Irrusdomnonn 
with a large force from Alba. Fiachaidh Caisinn, who had been 
levying Avar against Elim, joined him. This Fiachaidh is called a 
Son of Donn Desach — that is, an O'Conmaic. They killed Elim near 
Taia, and aftemvards killed Sanb at Duma Selca in Mag Ai, when 
Sanb was in extreme old age. Eochy, son of Cairbre, was made 
King of Connaught in his place. Eochy is the last of the Tuatha 
Taiden, or Hy Maine race, Avho is recognised as King of Connaught. 
Tuathal is said to have fought battles in Ceara and Umall and 
Cruachan Aigle, among 133 battles fought all over Ireland in subdu- 
ing Attacots. 

He seems to have revived the poAver of the Domnonian or Firbolg 
clans of Meath. Those clans I suspect to have been those called 
Delbhna and Luighne and Cianachta, or cognate tribes. Unless all 
known facts of Irish history are disregarded, he must have been head 
of a group of clans. I take him to haA'e been the representatiA'e of 
the Danonian kings, the head of the Tuatha De Danann bi"anch of 
the Domnonian or Firbolg race in Meath. He died about the year 
a.d'. 160. 

He is said to haA^e transplanted Attacottic tribes about Ireland. 
This also is not easy to believe. The Book of Ballymote and Duald 
MacFii'bis giA^e lists of forty-six Free Tribes Avho Avere extinguished 
by the Rent-paying Tribes, and of forty-seven Ren1>paying Tribes, 


and the positions occupied by the latter, whereof I give so much as 
concerns Irrusdomnonn and the adjoining countries, from O'SuUivan's 
Introduction to O'Curry's " Manners and Customs of the Ancient 
Irish," I. p. xxvii. 

"The Rent-paying Tribes were distributed throughout all Eriu, and 
the bondage rule of the lords of Eriu was established over them after 
they had distributed them, uf est hie. . . . 

" Tuath Sen Cheneoil in Noi'thern Ui Maine. The Tuath Conco- 
barni and of the Sons of Timor upon Ui Briuin, and around Loch 
Cim4, and in Cluain Fuiche. Tuath Resen upon the Conmaicni, from 
Ath ]\Iogho to the sea. The Tuath Mic Timor in TImall. Tuath Fer 
Domnann in the country of Ceara and in Tli Amalgad, and in Tli 
Fiachrach North, from the Rodb to the Congnaig in Carpri of Drom- 
cliabh. Tuath Cruithnech in ]\Iagh Aei, and Magh Lurg, from Loch 
Ce to Brogail, and to the Shannon. 

" Tuath Crecraighe in Luighni of Connacht and around Loch Techad, 
and about Corann and about Bernas of Tir Oililla, as far as Magh 

Tuath Resen appear in another part of the list as Tuath Resent 

The allegation that conqviered tribes were moved shows us that 
Cromwell's policy of transplantation into Connaught was an attempt 
to govern Ireland according to Irish ideas, though he did not adopt 
the policy for popularity's sake, and does not appear to have absorbed 
other Irish ideas of government. 

After Sanb the kings of Irrusdomnonn disappear from the list of 
kings of Connaught until Aid, son of Gai-ad, who is the last recognised 
Domnonian king. 

After the death of Eochy, son of Cairbre, five generations of kings 
of Connaught of the Fir Craibe race are recognised. 

Irrusdomnonn and Mayo drop out of sight for a time. 

Conn Cedcathach set up Crimthann Culbuide as King of Leinster, 
Cumall deposed him. Conn called in Conall Cruachna (K.C.), and 
Aedh MacMorna, the chief of the Gamanry. They defeated Cumall 
and his Munster allies in the battle of Cnucha, where Aedh killed 
Cumall, but lost an eye, whence he was called Goll. 

Eogan Mor, alias Mogh Nuadhat, and his father, ]\Iogh Neid, King 
of Munster, attacked Conn, who was joined by the same allies. In a 
battle in Magh Siuil, in ISTorthern Eile, Goll killed Mogh Neid. They 
followed Eogan to Carnbuide, supposed to be near Cork, where Eogan 
was defeated again by Goll and Conall, whom he tried to surprise in 
camp. Eogan fled to Spain, and Munster was divided between two 
kings, Conaire and MacNiadh. 

After nine years Eogan came again with 2000 Spaniards. The 


kings of Munster submitted to him. The King of Leinster joined 
them. The two kings of Ulster attacked Conn, who abandoned Tara 
and joined his allies in Connaiight. Eogan came by Athlone into 
Magh Ai. Conn and his allies encamped at the Mound of the Well 
of Tulsk, opposite to Eogan. Conn there made peace by accepting 
Eogan's terms, that he should have half of Ireland. Thus originated 
the division of Ireland into Leath Cuinn and Leath Mogha. 

Eogan's Spaniards wanted to go home. Eogan feared that without 
them he could not make head against Conn, so picked a quarrel by 
making extortionate demands, denounced the peace, and assembled his 
forces at Magh Leana, round Tullamore in King's County. Eochy 
Muinderg, King of Ulster, attacked Tara. Conn returned from Con- 
naught with Conall Cruachna's sons, Eochy Whiteknee and Fiachaidh 
Whitehand, sons of Crimhthann Culbuide, King of Aichill and Umall, 
and of Gairech, daughter of Criomall, and other allies, and saved Tara 
by defeating and killing Eochy. Thence they marched to Magh Leana. 
Eogan's force was so much the larger that Conn asked for terms and 
offered to surrender Ulster and keep only Connavight and Teffa and 
the profits of Tara. 

Lest it should seem like suing for peace, he made the offer not by 
poets but by the two sons of Crimhthann, King of Umall. Eogan 
asked them if they came as ho.stages. They said no, and that they 
did not believe that Conn meant the terms to be accepted. Thereupon 
Eogan hanged them. 

Conn heard of this in the evening and prepared a night attack, as 
his forces were small. Goll MacMorna refused to join, as he was under 
vow never to make a night slaughter or attack, but promised to help 
Conn if Eogan pressed him. 

At dawn Conn surprised Fraoch's camp and killed him before he 
could put on his armour. Fraoch was Eogan's brother-in-law and 
leader of the Spaniards. Eogan made a furious attack on Conn. 
Goll, supported by his thirty brothers, came forward and covered 
Conn. Eogan wounded Conall Cruachna so that Conall died within a 
year. Conn and Eogan wounded each other. Other kings rushed in 
upon Eogan, who was fighting with Goll, and raised him aloft on their 
spears. Then his army fled. Conn could not pursue. His losses 
Avere said to have been greater than Eogan's. 

The sovereignty of Munster was again divided between Conaire 
and MacNiadh, and Conn was for twenty years undisputed King of 
Ireland. He is allowed a reign of thirty-four years, ending about 
A.D. 157 or 212, according to different computations; the latter is 
probably the more accurate. This important battle may be dated 
about A.D. 190. 

In all these events we find Conn, and afterwards we find his descen- 


dants, relying on Connaught to support their pretensions to be 
kings of Ireland. Here Conn has the support of his foster-father, 
Conall of the race of Fiach, who is recognised as the King of 

But Aedh or Goll MacMorna is the greater figure in the legends. 
At this time appear the Fianna, who are said to have been three 
organised bodies in Leinster, Connaught, and Munster. No such 
body is ascribed to Ulster. The descriptions show that they were 
organised bodies of soldiers, and it is supposed that they were an 
imitation of the Roman Legion. But they existed, by the name of 
Fianna, for only a short time. 

The Connaught Fianna were called the Gamanry, and were com- 
manded by Goll MacMorna. Also they were called Clann Morna, but 
these terms apply only to their commanders. As the only Connaught 
force is under the kings of Irrusdomnonn, we should expect that the 
sovereignty of Connaught would be held by those kings during the 
period in which they made much show in legend. So also in Leinster 
their commanders, Cumall and Finn, were not kings of Leinster. It 
seems stranger still that there were no Fianna of Meath. The ex- 
planation which commends itself to me is that they were bodies of 
Gallowglasses such as appeared in the fifteenth and sixteenth cen- 
turies, but then under command of adventurers who were not 
inhabitants of the province, Free Companies who sold their services 
to any one who could raise their wages. I take the Fianna to have 
been similarly drilled and trained as professional soldiers under 
permanent commanders, but raised by each chieftain out of his own 
people. All maintained them in some form or other — at least the 
great chieftains would do so — but some made more show than others, 
and have survived in legend because of the distinction of their com- 
manders and the events in which they were concerned. 

In the third century the King of Corann or Gailenga oi' Luighne 
appears. King Cormac MacArt was closely connected with Corann, 
so that he bore the name of Cormac of Corann. He is said to have 
been born there and to have been brought up by his stepfather. 
The persons now mentioned in connection with this country are 
supposed to be closely related as follows : — 

Felim Rechtmar. 

Conn. Fiacha Sui glide. 

I I 

Art. Fiacha Raiclhe. 

I I 

Cormac. Fothad. 

Luis^hni Firtri. 


Tims O'Flaherty gives the descent of Luiglnii Fiitri, " Ogygia," 
p. 333. According to another account, Luighni was son of Derraot. 
There is another connection between those families and the Clann 
Coin in tlie person of Trea, who was mother of Cormac MacArt and 
married Luighni, called from lier Firtri, after the death of Art. 

Conn. Cian. 

I I 

I I """ ' I 

Art = Trea = Luighni Firtri. Tadho;. 

Cormac (K.I.). 

Cormac Gailen^. 

NiaMor (K.C.). Lugad (K.C.). 

From Luighni Firtri the Corco Firtri of Corann, from Cormac 
Gaileng the O'Garas and O'Haras, are made to descend. From Cian 
also the CJaileiisa and Luiijhne of Meath and the Cianachta of Meath 
and Ulster are supposed to descend. We may believe that Luighni 
Firtri and his sons and Cormac Gaileng did exist about this period, 
and that they helped and were helped by Cormac MacArt. The 
Gregry, who occupied all this territory and all or part of Tirerrill in 
Tuathal Techtmar's time, and who appear again in St. Patrick's time, 
seem to have been now eclipsed by the Corcofirtri. But I think 
that no credit need be given to the alleged descent of the Corcofirtri 
from Felim Rechtmar, or to that of Clann Cein from OilioU Olum. 

Cormac attacked Aid, who was King of Connaught, and put up 
Nia Mor in his place. Aid killed Nia Mor, whereupon King Cormac 
came again and killed Aid, making Nia Mor's brother Lugad King of 
Connaught. This Aid is the last King of Connaught of the race of 
Fiach mentioned by O'Flaherty. 

Cormac MacArt's son, Cairbre Liffeachair, King of Ireland, 
quarrelled with the Fianna of Leinster under Finn MacCumal, who 
defeated him. After Finn's death they took service with Moghcorb, 
King of Munster, and gave battle to Cairbre and the Clann Morna 
at Gabhra in a.d. 284. The victory was with Cairbre, though he was 
killed. The Fianna on both sides were almost exterminated, and 
were not formed again. Aid, son of Garad Glunduff, King of 
Connaught, commanded the Clann Morna. Aid followed Moghcoi-b 
and killed him in the battle of Spaltrach in Muskerry. Aid is suc- 
ceeded by Condeus (a Latinised name) of the Corcofirtri. Thus the 
Olnegmacht kings of Connaught disappear from history, and their 
place is taken by the Milesians. Cian, son of Garad, King of the 
Sencheneoil, is mentioned in the legend of the Hy Maine. He 
seems to have been king of the old kingdom of the Tuatha Taiden. 
But we have no further indications regarding him. Thus closes what 
I may call the Olnegmacht or Firbolg period of Connaught's history. 



CoNNAUGHT liistory is broken in the middle of the fourth century, 
Muredach Tirech, of the Eremonian race of Meath, appears as King 
of Connaught after Condeus of the Corcofirtri, and is succeeded by 
his son, Eochaidh Muighmhedhoin. Both are recognised as kings of 
Meath and of Ireland. Neither seems to have had any local con- 
nection with Connaught, except that the latter is called " of Mag 
Medhoin," which may be the country about Kilmaine. In their 
times the ancient kingdoms of the Fir Craibe and of the Gamanry 
disappear from view. On Eochy's death his son Brian Orbsen is 
King of Connaught, and his son Fiachra is king of the territories 
of the Fir Craibe and of the Ferdomnonn. 

Fiachra transfers the Fir Craibe kingdom, except Aidhne, to 
Munster, as an eric for the murder of Crimhthann Mor by his sister, 
mother of Brian, Fiachra, and Ailill ; or in bis time Conall Echluath 
conquered it, unless Conall's father, Lughaidh Menu, had done so 
already. These transactions and the transformations of Connaught 
clans are discussed in the Journal of the R. S. A. I., vol. xxx. I am 
inclined to think that the kingdom of Fir Craibe did not include more 
of the county of Clare than the eastern part along the Shannon 
occupied by Clann Umoir tribes in the Attacottic list, and that the 
conquest was no more than the establishment of supremacy of the 
king of the Ua Cathbharr and Ua Corra ti'ibes over them. It is 
quite likely that O'Flaherty's and Keating's extents of the Fir 
Craibe kingdom are based on the same authority, and that the Fir 
Craibe territory did not really extend south of Aidhne, that the 
error is due to the identification of Fiachra of Magh Tail with the 
Fiachra of the north. 

In Ulster a like state arises. Muredach Tirech became King of 
Ireland by driving out Colla Uais and his brothers, who retire to 
Scotland. After three years they return and are well received by 
Muredach, who advises them to conquer for themselves a settlement 
in Ulster. With his help, and that of a large force from Connaught, 
they destroy Emain Macha and settle themselves in Ulster about 
A.D. 331, and develop into the tribes of the Oirghialla. 


If these changes are taken to have occurred, we must admit that 
conditions existed in Ireland in the fourth century which have no 
parallel before or after. As far as we can judge from the legends 
of earlier and from the historical lecords of later centuries, the 
political conditions of Ireland were the same from the time of Queen 
Cleave to the twelfth century. Christianity only softened manners 
and got rid of some savage customs. 

No one could be king of a province, or of a main division thereof, 
without the support of a large group of families closely related to 
each other, and forming the foundation of their chief's power over 
other tribes. The descendants of kings spread over the land, indeed, 
but by very slow degrees, encroaching on less powerful clans. 

Ulster suffers soon another conquest. After the death of Kiall 
of Nine Hostages, his son Laegaire is King of ]SIeath and King of 
Ireland in succession to Dathi, but his sons Eogan and Conall Gulban 
are settled in North Ulster, where they leave dominant clans. That 
the Oirghialla clans of the north would have submitted quietly 
is incredible, and Meath could not have imposed them violently on 
that distant part of Ulster. After the fifth century, when the High 
Kings were of Meath and Connaught alternately, the Hy Neill of 
Ulster provided almost all the High Kings for 150 years. If Niall 
of Nine Hostages is the Niall who was buried at Ochaine, it follows 
as almost a certainty that he was a King of Ulster, and was not son 
of a King of Meath and Connaught. 

In Munster a somewhat similar condition is found, where the 
King of Munster is genei'ally of the Eoghanacht and only occasionally 
of the Dalcais race. 

In Connaught the chief kings come from Hy Briuin and Hy 
Fiachrach, north and south, until the former establish a supre- 

In no case is there satisfactory evidence of the alleged origin of 
the rival families. In that of Ulster we should infer from analogy 
that Eogan sprang from the Oirghialla, the tribe of Ulster which 
had grown strong enough to drive the Dal Araidhe from Emain. 
In that of Munster we should infer that Lugaid Menu and Conall 
Echluath were kings of the ancient Ua Cathbharr and Ua Corra 
tribes who occupied nearly all Thomond. 

The confusion of this and of earlier periods seems to have arisen 
when the Milesian genealogy was framed some hundreds of years 
later. The spread of Christianity over all Ireland duiing the fifth 
century must have made the use of letters general. To bring great 
families together whose real origin had been lost for ages, the genea- 
logists had to go back to times before wiitten record, when they could 
nail a branch on a convenient place in the tree. Thus, I take it, they 


brought the principal kings of Meath and Ulster and Connaught 
together in the person of Eochy Moyvane in the fourth century. 

It has been so long accepted, and, subject to these considerations, 
so well expresses the relationships of the tribes of each province towards 
each other, that it must be used for the historical period. 

The case of Connaught has to be set out as we find it at the close 
of the fourth and beginning of the fifth century, when a fairly accurate 
history begins. 

As the Fir Craibe kings had for several generations eclipsed the 
Gamanry and Tviatha Taiden kings in the sovereignty of Connaught, 
so now the kings of Irrusdomnonn, afterwards called the kings of the 
Hy Fiachrach, predominate in Connaught, holding the sovereignty of 
Ireland alternately with the kings of Meath, and sharing that of 
Connaught with the Hy Briuin during the fifth century. During the 
first half of the sixth centviry, when they no longer attain to the 
sovereignty of Ireland, they keep the sovereignty of Connaught in the 
line of Ailill Molt. After that time their power declines quickly. 

At this time their power seems to have been based upon their 
immediate possessions of great extent, which were in my opinion the 
countries of Carra and Tirawley and Erris, inhabited by Ferdomnonn 
clans, whose names do not appear, save that of the Corcu Temne in 
the north of Carra^ and a clan of Calry about Magh Eleog, now repre- 
sented by Moylaw in Crossmolina parish, and the mass of Calry who 
occupied Coolcarney in Mayo and all Tireragh and Carbury in Sligo, 
and the baronies of Rossclogher and Dromahaire in Leitrim, and the 
country of Moylurg in Roscommon, and a part of Corran. 

The power of Fiachra, Dathi, Ailill Molt, and their immediate 
successors seems to have been based upon the support of the Calry, as 
the royal tribe which had grown up during their period of obscurity. 
As the O'Conors left the Silmurray and began to settle in other parts 
of the country, so I suppose these kings, while resting on the great 
mass of their own tribe, moved into Carra and Tii-awley and began to 
settle their relations upon the older clans in those regions. Their loss 
of power after the middle of the sixth century may be due to various 
causes. The tribes forming the foundation of their power were very 
much scattered. The rising power of the Hy Neill of Ulster at this 
time enabled them to impose themselves upon Carbury, while the 
tribe from which O'Rourks and O'Reillys came imposed itself upon 
the Calry of the County Leitrim. They dropped a clan in Corran, 
whose position I cannot ascertain. The Calry of Moylurg were of 
some importance, as they are recorded to have been fighting in 
751 and 811 (A.U.) with the Hy Briuin of Ai, who eventually 
suppressed them. 

The Gregry are still a great race. The Gailenga and Luighne 



have not yet come into sight as tribes. The Gailenga and the Hy 
Ailello are mentioned in the Annals of Ulster for the first time in the 
note of the battle of Lorg in 742. But the Hy Ailello appear from 
Tirechan's notes to have borne that name in St. Patrick's time. The 
Luighne first appear in 770 (A.U.) in a note of the death of a chieftain. 
The Hy Ailello disappear after 791 (A.U. ), when they are defeated by 
the Ui Briuin. Their previous appearances are fights with Gailenga, 
Gregry, Luighne, in 752, 788, 789 (A.U.). The name Gailenga seems 
to have been the most general name, denoting that they belonged to 
the Fir Gaileoin race. This eventually adhered rather to the !Muinter 
Gadhra division. Gregraige denotes a clan descended from Greg or 
Grec, which held supremacy. Corcofirtri is another section, Luighne 
yet another, which was used to denote the whole kingdom when the 
O'Haras gained ascendency. As we know that the Gregry once 
extended over Tirerrill, and as we find the Hy Ailello there at this 
time, and cannot regard their alleged descent from a son of Eochy 
Moyvane as deserving credit, it is, I think, safe to take them to 
have been a section of the Gregry. At some time a split occurred in 
the tribe of the Gregry, which divided itself into two independent 
kingdoms of Gregry and Luighne, whom we find in the Book of 
Rights paying tribute in the proportion of two to five. If we take 
the kingdom of the Gregry to have comprised the baronies of Coolavin 
and Tirerrill or thereabouts, and that of the Luighne to have comprised 
the rest of the territory, the tributes are fairly apportioned. 

Umall was the baronies of Murrisk and Burrishoole or thereabouts, 
inhabited by Clann Umoir families, from whom came Clann Maille, 
whose alleged descent from Brian Orbsen is contradicted by the Book 
of Rights. With such a descent the King of Umall would not have 
paid tribute. His full title was once " King of Aicill and Umall," i.e. 
of Highland and Lowland.^ 

The Partraige were of the Clann Umoir. According to O'Flaherty 
they were in three divisions : — 

1. Of Odba Ceara, who in historical times are known only in the 
parish of Ballyovey, Baile Odhbha. They may have been in those of 
Ballintubber and Ballyheane in St. Patrick's time. 

2. Of the Mountain, from Croaghpatrick to Lough Corrib. Here I 
think O'Flaherty took Aicill to be only Croaghpatrick, or the country 
immediately round it. From Aicill to Lough Corrib would be the 
barony of Ross. 

3. Of the Lake. Cong was in their counti'y. 

Thus they occupied country possessed first by Tuath Resent Umoir 
and afterwards by Conmaicne, but shrank much from their early 
importance. The Book of Rights puts their king on an equality with 
1 " Battle of Magh Leana," p. 87. 


the kings of Silmurray, Hy Briuin, and the Hy Fiachrachs, as he 
receives a stipend but pays no tribute. 

Next comes a group of three tribes, the Conmaicne, the Ciarraige, 
and the Corcamoga, the original Connachta, who have given their 
name to the province. These I take to have sprung from the Fir 
Craibe kings of Connaught, and the Conmaicne to be more especially 
the tribe over which Brian Orbsen and his immediate successors 
presided until the growth of the Silmurray afforded a fresh base 
of power. 

The barony of Clanmorris, excepting the parish of Balla, which 
was in Carra, cannot be ascribed to any of the early tribes. The 
descendants of Xechtan and Enna, sons of Brian Orbsen, were settled 
here. This country appears very late in legend and history, and then 
only as Tir Nechtain and Tir Enna. From MacFirbis's Great Book 
of Genealogies we learn that Tir Nechtain took its name from Brian's 
son Nechtan, and that the Cinel Enna came from Enna. 

The Conmaicne were in three divisions : — 

1. Conmaicne of Cuil Tolad, in the barony of Kilmaine, south of 
the Robe, and in the barony of Ross. 

2. Conmaicne Mara, in the barony of Ballynahinch. 

3. Conmaicne of Dunmore, or Cinel Dubain, in the barony of 
Dunmore and part of Ballymoe, and at least the parish of Belclare. 

The Corcamogha made no show in history. In late days they were 
in the parishes of Clonbern and Kilkerrin. Their alleged descent 
from Fergus MacEoigh places them among the Connachta. I am now 
of opinion that they are the Corca of the Woods, that they are the 
Sencheneoil, and that they come from the Tuatha Taiden. 
The Ciarraige were in four divisions : — 

1. Ciari-aige Ai or of Magh Ai, in the barony of Castlereagh except 
the parish of Ballintubber. 

2. Ciarraige of Artech, which was the parishes of Kilnamanagh 
and Tibohine in Roscommon, and those of Kilcolman and Castlemore 
in Roscommon and Mayo. 

3. Ciarraige of Loch na nAirneadh, Mannin Lake, or Ciarraige 
lochtar, in the eastern and southern part of the parish of Aghamore, 
and in Bekan and Annagh. 

4. Ciai-raige Uachtar, in the rest of Aghamore, and in Knock. 
The county of Mayo therefore consisted of fragments of kingdoms 

and tribes, whereof the Hy Fiachi-ach were the principal. The events 
affecting it are mainly those in connection with their kings, and are 
generally connected with the quarrels between them and the Hy 
Briuin kings. 

The Hy Briuin, as already observed, were immediate kings of the 
Connachta, but where they lived when not in power in Croghan does 


not appear. If they did not live among the Conmaicne, and if Brian 
was in truth an ancestor of the O'Flaherties, which is by no means 
certain, the barony of Clare may have been their usual abode. 

This view has in its favour the Book of Rights, which mentions the 
Hy Briuin among the royal tribes as distinct from the Silmurray, 
and suggests that the general name clung to them when Silmurray 
grew up. 

The Three Tuaths, Hy Briuin na Sinna, Corcachland, and Cinel 
Dobhtha, claimed descent from Ere Derg, son of Brian. But the 
Book of Armagh and the Tripartite Life make it clear that they came 
from Ere, son of Bron, of the Corca Chonluain. Descendants of the 
Ere from whom they came seem to be the Maicne Ere, sons of Heric, 
who were in Moylurg in St. Patrick's time. These appear to be the 
Hy Broin, who Avere distinguished from Hy Briuin by Tirechan, who 
calls them [Filii] Briuin and Filii Broin. Though they do not descend 
from Brian, it is not unlikely that the Corca Chonluain had a common 
ancestor with the Conmaicne, and so being of the royal race, were not 
under tribute, being included in the direct dominions of the King 
of Silmurray, as the Calry are omitted because immediately under 
the Hy Fiachrach kings, as I suppose. Beyond this we know not 
who were in possession of the rest of Magh Ai and of the Three 

Next south of Magh Ai came the Delbhna of Sid Nenta, or 
Delbhna Nuadat, who occupied the country southwards from Fairy- 
mount to Maghfinn between the Suck and the Shannon. 

Delbhna Tire Da Loch occupied the barony of Moycullen, and 
Delbhna Cuile Fabhair the country adjoining them and to the east 
of Galway. It is not now possible to say which of these groups was 
meant in the Book of Rights, probably the Roscommon group. The 
latter are likely to have been treated as in Hy Briuin territory. 

The Delbhna Nuadhat and the Corcamogha are included within 
the traditional bounds of the kingdom of Hy Many, which, like those 
of the kingdom of Irrusdomnonn, seem to have been handed down from 
a very early time. Though the Delbhna and the Corca are pla,ced 
separately vxnder tribute to the King of Connaught, they may have 
been politically bound to the King of Hy Many. 

Taking the Corca^ as suggested above, to be representatives of 
the Tuatha Taiden and of the Sencheneoil, and taking into considera- 
tion the heavy tribute assessed on them in the Book of Rights, I 
suppose them to have occupied the Corcamogha and Sodhan territories 
of later times, and a good deal more, the northern part of the 
kingdom of Hy Many, and I take O'Mainnin, King of Sodan, to be 
their representative. 

The Hy Many occupied lands in the southern part of their kingdom 


at this time, but details are not clear. They certainly settled clans 
in Moenmagh at a very early date in the fifth or sixth centvn-ies. 
Gaela, which O'Donovan considered to be near Loughreagh, was 
their chief dwelling. They settled themselves in the old Cathry 

In the Book of Rights their tribute is least of all, but the stipend 
is like that of other kings. The small tribute may be due to their 
being so powerful that they could not be made to pay more than a 
trifle when they lost the position of a tribe which might aspire to 
provide a King of Connaught. 

Aidhne was the country between the Hy Many or Cathry and the 
sea as far north as the neighbourhood of Athenry. The inhabitants 
Avere Clann Umoir tribes at this time, even if Eoghan Aidhne was 
not of that race, tacked on to Eochaidh Breac, son of Dathi. These 
Hy Fiachrach kings were powerful, and in the sixth and seventh 
centuries were often kings of Connaught. 

The historical kingdom of Brefne had not yet come into exist- 
ence. It was included in the kingdom of Meath, except the Calry 
of Dromahaire and Dartry or Rossclogher. When the ancestors 
of the O'Rourks and O'Reillys formed it with the help of the Con- 
maicne, they attached themselves to Connaught, and eventually were 
strong enough to make four O'Rourk kings of Connaught in the tenth 
and eleventh centuries. The alleged descents of Hy Briuin of Brefne 
and Conmaicne from Brian Orbsen and from Conmaicne of Dunmore 
must be regarded as fictitious. 

These are approximately the conditions of Connaught kingdoms 
about the year a.d. 400, from which grew slowly those which will be 
found in the year a.d. 1200. 

As all Irish history turns on tribal relations, and so many tribes 
are mentioned in connection with events in which Mayo men were 
concerned, I give tables of descents according to Milesian Genealogies, 
and tables of the relations of early tribes according to my own views, 
and lists of the Domnonian and Milesian kings of Connaught. The 
O'Conor and O'Dowda families are given in detail because they wei^e 
much mixed in warfare, and because the latter is the principal family 
of Mayo, which had a measure of real independence. 

Dr. J. O'Donovan, who translated and edited the Book of Rights, 
held it to have been composed in the time of Cormac Mac Cuileannain, 
King of Cashel from 901 to 908, and to have been probably revised 
in the time of Brian Boro, but to have been based on a record drawn 
up by St. Benen in the fifth century. It is of interest as showing 
what a ninth or tenth century historian, working from the King of 
Munster's point of view, ascertained to be the rights and obligations 
of the kings of Ireland and of the provinces, and of the kings of tribes 


under the provincial kings. Tlie following lists give the tributes and 
stipends of the Connaught kings, taken from the poetry, which is 
considered to he older than the prose portion. Poetry and prose go 
over the same ground, but vary slightly. 

Tributes payable to the King of Connaught by the Kings of Tribes. 






1. Umall . 

2. Greagraidhe . 

3. Conmaicne 

4. Ciarraidlie 

5. Luigbne . 

6. Corca of the ^\'ood 

7. Dealbbna 

8. Ui Maine 



















Cloaks or mantles 

Red cloaks 





350 ' 

In connection with the tribute of iron siieep, note that O'Kelly's 
iron was with the Hy Tuathaigh of Aughrim and with the Hy 
Baedain of Badhna,i and that Aughrim is in the country where I 
would place Sencheneoil or Corca of the Wood. 

The stipends payable to these kings, and to the kings of I'oyal tribes 
who paid no tribute, were as follows : — 

1. Sil Muireadhaigh : a ring, a dress, a steed, a shield, a sword, a 
coat of mail. 

2. Umhall : 5 steeds, 5 swords, 5 ships, 5 coats of mail. 

3. Dealbbna : 6 swords, 6 shields, 6 steeds, 6 tunics with gold, 
6 drinking-horns. 

4. Greagraidhe : 6 weapons, 6 tunics, 6 bondsmen, 6 bondswomen, 
6 coats of mail. 

5. Conmaicne: 10 drinking-horns, 10 steeds, 2 rings, 2 chessboards. 

6. Ui Maine : 7 cloaks, 7 horses, 7 hounds, 7 deep-i-ed tunics. 

7. Luighne : 10 steeds, 10 cloaks, 10 drinking-horns, 10 white 

8. Ui Briuin : 5 steeds, 5 matals, 5 swords, 10 drinking-horns, 10 
bondsmen, 10 chessboards. 

9. Corca of the Wood : 5 war-horses, .5 matals, 5 swords, 5 coats of 

10. Partraidhe : 3 drinking-horns, 3 swords, 3 tunics, 3 steeds. 

1 H.M., p. fU. 


11. Ui Fiachrach : 3 drinking-hoi'ns, 3 swords, 3 steeds, 10 rings, 
10 chessboards. 

12. Ceneal Aedha : 7 women, 7 bondsmen, 3 drinking-horns, 3 
swords, 3 hounds. 

But that the stipend of the king of the Partraidlie resembles those 
of tlie kings of Hy Fiachrach, north and south (Ceneal Aedha), 
except that the latter, being much the more powerful, get each two 
additional items, I should suspect their name to be a mistake for that 
of Ciarraidhe, who are left out, and who ought to receive a stipend. 
On the other hand, they are not classed with the free tribes who had 
privileges expressed thus — 

" The Ui Briuin and Siol Muireadhaigh and the Ui Fiachrach and 
the Cineal Aedha are free tribes, and they are equally noble as the 
king, and they do not go upon an expedition or hosting except for 
pay ; and they do not go into battle with the king but for reward ; 
and if they be killed, and upon their being killed, the king is bound 
to give eric to their king ; and when the kingdom [of Connacht] does 
not belong to the race of Fiachra or Aedh or Guaire, the best man of 
them is privileged to sit by the right shoulder of the King of Connacht. 
If they happen to be in exile in another territory, they are to sit at 
the right shoulder of the King of Caiseal, or of the King of Nas, or 
of the Kins: of Emain Macha." 



EocHY MoYVANE died in a.d. 365. His son, Brian Orbsen, is next 
recognised as King of Connaught. Towaids the close of the century 
he quarrelled with Fiachra, whom he made prisoner and put in 
charge of Niall (Iv.I.). Dathi and Ere Cnlbuidhe defeated Brian at 
Damhchluain, between Knockmaa and Conmaicne Cuile. Brian was 
chased by their ally, Crimhthann, son of Enna Cennselach, to Tulcha 
Domnaill, where he was killed and buried. St. Beo Aidh of Roscam 
dug up his bones and buried, them at Roscam. 

Brian's Druid, Drithliu, was killed on the shore of Lough Carra, 
whetice Aenach Drithlind took its name. This was a royal fort of the 
kingdom of Carra, ^ which I identify with the great dun near Liskillen. 
Realin peninsula, on the shore of Lough Carra, preserves the Druid's 

Fiachra was released, became King of Connaught, invaded Munster 
on behalf of King Niall, and died of his wounds on his way back to 
Tara with hostages, who were buried alive round his fert at Forud in 
Moyfenrath barony in Meath. It must be doubtful whether two 
Fiachras have been confused here or not. But we may believe that 
Dathi, son of Fiachra Foltsnathach, King of Irrusdomnonn, became 
King of Connaught towards the close of the century by killing Brian, 
and opening the succession for his father or himself. 

Fairly accurate history begins in the fifth century, when the dates 
become right with a year or so generally, and events are likely to 
be correctly stated. During the fifth century we have little local 
information, except about church affairs. Fights for sovereignty of 
Connaught sum up the political history. For 150 years the descend- 
ants of Fiachra of Irrusdomnonn were the rivals of those of Brian, 
and decidedly predominated over them, as Dathi and Ailill Molt are 
recognised as kings of Ireland. 

At the beginning of the seventh century the Hy Fiachrach Aidhne 
entered the field, and shared the sovereignty with the Hy Briuiu for a 
hundred years. The Hy Fiachrach Moy held it again in the persons of 

^ H.F., p. 205. 






Clonmacn >is« 

The divisions rruark the priiicipaZ 
Kingdoms approximately- 
Tfie. rwjrus are those of the 
Trihes anA Districts. 



Donogh of Murrisk and Indrechtach for a year or two each. Then 
from 756 to 772 they held it for the last time. Henceforward it was 
with the Hy Briuin Ai, save that the O'Rourks came in from time 
to time in the eleventh century, and that an O'Flaherty held it for a 
short time in a period of unusual disturbance. 

He was acknowledged to be King of Connaught who was able to 
seize and hold Cruachan and to take the hostages of the sub-kings. 
Cruachan was abandoned after the death of Raghallach in 645. An 
island in Lough na nEn, near Roscommon, was afterwards, down to the 
Norman Conquest, a house of the King of Connaught. 

The dates 1 have assigned are fairly correct. Different annals* give 
different dates according to the synchronisms on which they are 
based, but agree generally in the order and relative dates until they 
become accurate within a small error. 

Allowing Fiachra to have succeeded Brian, we find his son Dathi, 
or Xathi, whose name was originally Feradach, established as King of 
Connaught. He became King of Ireland at the death of Niall in 
406, and Duach Galach, youngest son of Brian, became King of 
Connaught. One of Dathi's brothers, Amalgaid or Ere Culbuidhe, 
should have been King of Irrusdomnonn at this time, which it will 
be most convenient to call hereafter the kingdom of the Hy Fiachrach, 
as the former name is dropped by all Irish writers. 

Duach Galach is an important person in this history, because 
St. Patrick made his acquaintance, according to tradition, before he 
became King of Connaught, and worked in the territories of the 
Conmaicne and Ciarraige and of the Partry, and in Umall, and in 
North Carra among the Corcutemne. He worked also in the countries 
of the Delbhna and in Moy Ai and in Tirerrill. These are the countries 
which were especially under the influence of Duach Galach. On the 
other hand, he was wholly excluded from the countries under the 
Hy Fiachrach, except those of the Corcutemne, and of the Calry east 
of Ballysadare. Duach Galach was a Christian, and his son Eogan 
Srebh was baptized by 8t. Patrick. He died in 427. 

King Dathi's death is recorded in the same year. He " was killed 
by a flash of lightning at Sliabh Ealpa." The account of his death 
in the Alps mentions the battles fought by his army under command 
of his son Amalgaid as they brought the body back to be buried in 
the Releg of Cruachan, where the pillar stone set up at his grave 
may still be seen. Sir Samuel Ferguson has identified the places 
named in the tract, but the evidence does not seem to me to establish 
the fact of such an invasion of the Roman Empire, which is not likely 
to have escaped notice by Roman writers if it had occurred. 

In Ballycroy in Erris is a mountain called Slieve Alp. Leaght- 
dauhybaun is a cairn on a high mountain to the east of it, and more 


to the east is n Lough Dauhybaun. Local tradition derived the name 
Davihybaun from a " Fair David," a great robber who was killed by 
soldiers some two hundred years ago.^ A common robber would not be 
honoured by the great labour needed to place so great a monument at 
so great a height. It is not likely that it was put up to commemorate 
King Dathi, but if King Dathi was killed in that country the local tradi- 
tion would affix his name to a great monument of forgotten origin. I 
am inclined to believe that Dathi met his death in Ballyci'oy, and that 
the legend was worked up by men who knew not this Slieve Alp. 
The death of Duach Galach and the settlement of his brother Amalgaid 
as King of Connaught would account for his presence here, chasing 
enemies or their cattle. 

Of St. Patrick's work in Mayo at this period the only fact that has 
come down is in a note in Tirechan's collection in the Book of Armagh 
to the effect that he went from Drummut Cerrigi, which is near Kil- 
roddan, a little west of Lough Glynn, to Ailech Esrachtae in the north 
of iSTarney, where he and eight or nine companions were threatened 
by certain men. Hercaith of the race of Nothi intervened and saved 
them. Hercaith was baptized with his son Feradach, whom he gave 
to Patrick. Feradach studied with Patrick for thirty years, and was 
ordained by Patrick in Rome. He was given a new name, Sachell. 
He was a bishop who worked in Moy Ai, having a church at Baslick. 

It is evident that Patrick had been working much in this country, 
and that many churches had been established before his episcopal 
tour. But we have no details of his work beyond the above, only 
the inferences from general statements and references to churches 
which consist only Avith an early period of work in Connaught.- 

The accession of Laegaire as King of Ireland and of Amalgaid as 
King of Connaught produced opposite effects in Meath and Con- 
naught. Though not much of a Christian himself, even if ever 
nominally Christian, Laegaire held St. Patrick in great respect and 
gave him protection and freedom of preaching. Patrick seems to 
have gone to Rome, or at least to Gaul, to report the good opportunity 
of organising his congregations, and procured the appointment of 
Palladius as bishop. Only when the Irish rejected Palladius did 
Patrick accept the bishopric. There is no direct evidence that 
Patrick procured Palladius's appointment. It is inference from the 
facts. The Pope would not have sviperseded Patrick by sending a 
bishop to rule the church in Ireland unless Patrick suggested it. 

In or soon after the year 443, (St. Patrick made a tour in the 

1 Proc. R.I. A., 3rd Series, vol. iv. p. lOS. 

2 For reasons for ascribing to St. Patrick a period of work in Connaught 
before 432, see my "Notes on the Early History of the Dioceses of Tuam, Killala, 
and Achonrv." 


Christian parts of Connaught, accompanied by a train of bishops and 
priests, founding new churches, visiting old churches, and leaving 
bishops and priests in charge. It seems to have been an organising 
tour. It has been suggested that the record in the Book of Armagh 
is that of a tour made by Tirechan himself, into which he worked the 
written and traditional information regarding places visited by St. 
Patrick in the form of an Itinerary of St. Patrick. ^ This he has 
done to some extent, but I am inclined to think that he also developed 
some kind of earlier diary or abstract. 

Patrick came from Clonmacnoise to the border of Moy Ai, where two 
Druids who fostered the daughters of King Laegaire met him. They 
are said to have used their magic art against him, which was ovei^come 
by his prayers. The result was that he turned aside and went in the 
direction of Kilglass to Kilmore. Considering Patrick's relations with 
King Laegaire, I should expect these Druids to be well disposed 
towards Patrick, and I therefore suggest that the fact may have been 
that they met him to warn him not to enter Moy Ai, as King Amalgaid 
would not countenance his preaching there. 

From Moy Glass, the Kilmore country, he went to work in the 
country of the Hy Ailello, and thence returned to Elphin and to 
Shankill. In the meantime, as I suppose. King Amalgaid had been 
induced to permit Patrick to work in Moy Ai, though he did not 
receive him at Croghan. Patrick worked all round, but is not 
mentioned as having been at Croghan or as having met Amalgaid. 
On the other hand, it is evident that the resident lords and gentry 
were willing to receive him, and especially the sons of King Brian. 
We also find that Amalgaid's sons brought Patrick to their country 
and were baptized soon after their father's death, not ten years 

So Patrick worked south to Fuerty, and then north again to the 
country of the Gregry, east of Lough Gara, the parish of Killaraght, 
where he founded churches. After a visit to Assylin he moved to 
Ailech Mor, the old fort near Castle More Costello, and founded the 
old church at that place, which was then part of Artech and occupied 
by the Ciarraige, and called Ailech Mor Ciarraige. We may be sure 
that Enda, the chief of Artech at that time, received Patrick in his 
house, and thus we may see in that ruined rampart one of the few 
places which can with any certainty be said to have been inhabited 
by Patrick. After working about Ballaghaderreen he moved to 
Kilroddan, to the west of. Lough Glynn, and thence to the country of 
Karney, where he founded the church, now called Kilcronan, on the 
east shore of Mannin Lake in the parish of Aghamore. Thence he 

^ Professor Bury, English Historical Jicviciv, April 1902. 


moved to Mucna's Well, now Patrick's Well, near Ballyhaunis, and 
founded the old church of Kilmullen in Grallagh townland. 

Thence he came through the Dunmore country to the country about 
Kilmaine, and founded three churches. Two of them are Kilmainebeg 
and either Kilquire or Shrule, probably the latter. The Church of 
Cross might be the thiid. This country was already converted to a 
great extent. To an earlier period must be ascribed the foundation 
of the undoubtedly Patrician churches of Kilmainemore, Kilbennan, 
Donaghpatrick, and perhaps Templepatrick on Inchanguill. 

From Kilmaine he moved to Cuil Core in Mag Caeri, where he 
founded a church. These places have not been identified, but are prob- 
ably in the barony of Clanmorris, as his next halt was in Mag Foimsen, 
the counti'v about Ballinamore in Killedaii parish, where he left Conan 
a priest, at Patrick's Well, as I suppose. Thence he passed to Stringill's 
Well, at Bellabourke, where he spent two Sundays, and went on to 
the country of Raithin, about Ballyheane. These churches seem to 
have been already established. Thence he went to Aghagower and 
founded a church. He fasted on the top of Croaghpatrick. Now, or 
earlier, he founded a church in Cloonpatrick graveyard at Oughaval. 
Thereafter he founded a church at Kilmeena, and moved into the 
country of the Corcu Temne, where he fovinded three churches, 
pi'obably Turlough and Manulla and another in Kildacommoge parish, 
but it is not certain when Turlough and Manulla were founded, 
though they were certainly Patrician. It may have been on an 
earlier visit. On this occasion he seems to have lived near Turlough, 
as he is said to have baptized many thousands in the Well of Sin, 
probably the holy well at Turlough. 

He uncovered a dolmen built over the holy well at Manulla in the 
presence of a crowd of the Druids and heathen of the country who 
had worshipped the well. It was called Slan, and from it the church 
and parish were called Slanpatrick down to the sixteenth century. 
The uncovering seems to have been a formal, prearranged act, that it 
might be seen whether the god of the well would punish the Christian 
who interfered with his altar, or a formal abolition of the worship. It 
seems clear that the Corcu Temne as a tribe, and their subjects, now 
generally adopted Christianity. 

Thus ended the work of the tour, and St. Patrick returned to 

King Amalgaid died in 449, and his nephew Ailill Molt became 
King of Connaught. 

Seven of Amalgaid's sons came to the Fes of Tara in 451 to settle 
before King Laegaire a dispute about their inheritance. Laegaire 
decided, with Patrick's concurrence, that the land should be divided, 
and that Enda, the eldest, should be the chieftain. The brothers 


accepted Christianity in principle, but said that they must be baptized 
after the new religion had been adopted in their tribal assembly. 
Patrick contracted with them for escort to Tirawley. But the ar- 
rangements were not pleasing to all. Oengus conspired with Fergus 
and Fedelmid to kill Patrick and Enda's son Conall in Corann. 
Fergus and Fedelmid withdrew from the plot, and Oengus seems to 
have gone ahead to organise opposition. Though Tirechan does not 
mention the tribal meeting, yet it is evident that it was held, and 
that the brothers and their people accepted the new faith. For we 
learn that Enda and his brothers and 12,000 men were baptized in a 
well called Oen Adarc, according to the Tripartite Life. 

The local tradition has told that Amalgaid and his sons and 900 
persons were baptized in Tobernacreeva in Foghill townland. Except 
that Amalgaid was not there, the tradition may well be correct. 

When he was near Mullafarry a mob led by Druids came to attack 
him between Killybrone and Crosspatrick, but were driven off by Enda 
and Conall. 

He founded a church in the Forrach, which probably is Killogunra, 
and another called Donaghmore near Killala, and one at Ros mac 
Caitni, which is probably the ruin on Dunbriste. He is said to have 
founded Killala and Kilmoremoy. He certainly established the faith 
firmly in Tirawley, but the Book of Armagh and the Tripartite Life 
relate the Tirawley events in a very confused way. 

He was in danger of drowning in crossing the Moy near Bouley- 
fadrick, south of Ballina, between Ardnarea and Breaghwy. He 
crossed its mouth also from Bartragh. He was opposed and threa- 
tened by the Calry of Coolcarney on one occasion. I suspect that 
they turned him back, and that he then took the other course. He 
made his way through Tireragh to Ballysadare, and on to Ulster. 

In Tirawley he baptized Eochaidh Breac, son of Dathi, whose 
descendants settled about Killala. Fiachra Elgach and Ailill Molt 
and their descendants seem to have been pagans until the sixth 

The only important clans who now adhered to paganism were the 
sons of Dathi and their descendants in the country of Caria, the Gai- 
lenga, and the Calry. 

In accordance with the statement that seven sons of Amalgaid 
came to Tara and were baptized, we find that only Enda Crom, 
Oengus Fionn, Oengus, Eochaidh, Fergus, Felim, left families of 
importance in Tirawley. These constituted the Hy Amalghadha. 

We know nothing more regai-ding the establishment of Christianity 
during this century, but may take it to have been spreading quietly. 

After Laegaire's death Ailill Molt became King of Ireland in 463. 
The two branches of the Hy JSTeill combined and killed him in the 


battle of Ucha, near Tara, in 482. His son Ere must have been of 
some importance. D. MacFirbis Avrites : "[Some] books state that 
Earc, the son of OilioU Molt, assumed the monarchy of Ireland, and 
exacted the Borumha without a battle." If he did he was soon 
killed, or died, and the fact forgotten. 

The kingdom of Connaught seems to have been assumed by Eoghan 
Srebh in succession to Ailill. In any case Duach Tengumha was king 
at the close of the century. In 499 he was killed at the battle of 
Segais, the river Boyle, by Muirchertach Mac Erca of Ulster, and 
was succeeded by Eoghan Bel, son of Cellach, son of Ailill Molt, or, 
according to another account, son of Ere, son of Ailill Molt. 



St. Tigernan of Errew worked in Tirawley in the early part of the 
sixth century. His paten still exists. No more is known of him 
except that he was the founder of the Abbey of Errew. The Breastagh 
Ogham stone near the king's house of Rathfran commemorates a 
" son of Cairbre, son of Amalgaid," who may be father or uncle of 
Tigernan, or a great-grandson of Fiacln-a Elgach. 

Apparently at a later date St. Cormac appears. He is called 
Cormac O'Liathain, but it is not unlikely that a Tirawley man has 
been confused with O'Liathain. First he applied to Eoghan Bel, the 
King of Connaught, at his dun on Inishmaine. Eoghan did not 
encourage him, and he went to Carra, where Ailill Inbandha received 
him well at Fertlothair. Owing to the jealousy of a Finan of Rathen 
who was already settled in Carra, he had to move on, and went 
to Tirawley. This Finan is the first who appears in Carra after 
St. Patrick. His shrine was kept in the church on Church Island in 
Lough Carra. The Hy Amalgada received Cormac and let him settle 
at Kilcormick, near Killala, and it is said that they endowed him with 
the churches of Killala. The Abbey of Killala, which furnished the 
bishop and chapter, may have been his foundation. But we have no 
information about it. 

He tried to settle and work in the kingdom of the Luighne and 
Gailenga, and was received well by the king, but had to leave in 
consequence of objections raised by St. Aodhan of Cloonoghil, who 
was established there. 

A party rose against him in Tii'awley, but he overcame all opposi- 
tion. He was especially the saint of North Tirawley as Tigernan 
was of South Tirawley. 

According to his Life in Colgan's "Acta Sanctorum," the opponents 
were in the wrong, were properly cursed by him, and suffered theii or 
in reputation afterwards. We may infer that he was a very quarrel- 
some man, who could not work in peace with any one else. 

St. Aodhan died in 562. Contemporary with him, or about the 
same time, his relations, Cuimin, O'Suanaigh, and O'Triallaigh, were 
working in Tirawley and Tiieragh. The two last seem to have been 


brothers of Aodhan, but we cannot rely implicitly on the pedigrees of 
early saints. Cuimin was a first cousin of Tigernan. 

St. Brendan of Clonfert worked in Erris and lived on Inisglora. 
The Nuns Derbiled, of the race of Eochaidh Breac, and Gegh, carried 
on the work there in a later generation. 

"We may allow that all the royal families of this country had 
adopted Christianity and encouraged its spread in their dominions by 
the middle of the sixth century. 

The Ulster kings Fergus and Donnell invaded Tireragh. Eoghan 
Bel collected his forces and came up with them at Belladrehid as they 
were driving away the cattle. The battle began at Grinder, now 
represented by Culleencrin. The Ulstermen were defeated and driven 
across the Sligo river, but Eoghan was mortally wounded, and died in 
a few days. He was buried, by his own orders it is said, in the side 
of a rath overlooking the ford below the town of Sligo, standing with 
his spear in his hand. Thereafter the Ulstermen were defeated when- 
ever they attacked the Connaughtmen, until they came with a great 
host to Rath na Fiachrach, lifted Eoghan and buried him head down- 
wards in the flat land by Lough Gill, Aenach Locha Gile, which is 
supposed to be in Hazelwood demesne. It is evident from his chosen 
mode of burial that he was a pagan. This is called the battle of Sligo, 
and occurred in the year 537 or thereabouts. 

In the same year a .son of Ere, son of Ailill Molt, fell in the battle 
of Tortan in Meath. (A.U., A.T.) 

From a curious mixture and confusion of traditions called the 
" Life of St. Cellach," the following historical facts are drawn. 
Cellach, eldest son of Eoghan Bel, and three of his cousins studied 
under Ciaran of Clonmacnoise. Cellach tried to take up the chief- 
tainship, but was expelled by Guaire, grandson of Eochaidh Breac, 
and became a priest and bishop of Kilmoremoy. His younger brother, 
Muredach, became head of Eoghan Bel's branch. Cellach used his 
local influence on his brother's behalf when Muredach quarrelled with 
Guaire. MacDeoraid, son of Eoghan Bel's brother, supported by 
Guaire, murdered Cellach and drove Muredach out of his country, 
assumed the chieftainship, and ruled over at least the lands of the 
Calry of Murrisk, but was resisted by his subjects. Muredach 
returned, caught MacDeoraid and hanged him and three allies, called 
the four Maels, on Ardnarea. He is said to have captured them in a 
fort called Dunfidhne, having four doors, near Tandrego. Being unable 
to make head against Guaire, he submitted, and was treacherously 

The quarrel seems to have been for .supremacy over the lands of 
Calry of Coolcarney along the river Moy, a family quarrel between 
the Hy Eachach and Eoghan Bel's clan. A religious element entered 


into this war, as we are told that Muredach remorselessly wasted the 
churches of Guaire's land, though he was considerate towards Guaire's 

The events cannot be dated more exactly than as having occvirred 
about the middle of the sixth century, Eoghan Bel's family became 
extinct, and Guaire's also died out. The saints O'Suanaigh and 
O'Triallaigh seem to have been Guaire's bi-others, as was Aodhan 
of Cloonoghil. They must have worked after the death of Ailill 
Inbanna, who succeeded Eoghan, being his brother, or possibly 
his son. 

In 544 (F.M., A.T.) Fergus and Donnell invaded Connaught 
again, and killed Ailill and his brother Aedh Fortamail in the battle 
of Cuilconaire in Carra, a place not identified. The following curious 
tradition is given in the Tract on the Boromean Tribute in the 
Book of Leinster, translated by Mr. S. H. O'Grady in " Silva Gadelica," 
wherein Columcille says : — 

"As touching Ailillbannda, King of Connaught, the matter whereby 
he had the Lord's peace was this : the battle of Cuilconaire it was, 
which he fought against Clann Fiachrach and in which he was 
defeated, when [as they retreated] he said to his charioteer : ' Cast 
now, I pray thee, a look to the rear, and discover whether the killing 
be great and the slayers near to us.' The driver looked behind him, 
and replied : ' The slaughter that is made of thy people is intoler- 
able ! ' ' Not their own guilt, but my pride and unrighteousness it 
is that comes against them,' said the king : ' wherefore turn me now 
the chariot to face the pursuers ; for if I be slain, it will be a i-edemp- 
tion of many.' Then Ailill did earnest act of penance, and by his 
foemen fell. 'That man therefore,' said Columcille, 'attained to the 
Lord's peace.'" 

The mention of Clann Fiachrach as his adversary suggests that 
the Ulstermen found local allies in the rival families of the Hy 

His successor probably was Feradach Mac Rossa, whom I insert 
here on the authority of the Annals of Clonmacnoise. 

Aedh, son of Eochaidh Tirmcharna, became King of Connaught 
in 556. 

To this period I assign the disintegration of the great kingdom of 
Irrusdomnonn, and its reduction to the historical kingdom of the 
Hy Fiachrach. The race of Ailill Molt in Carra becomes insignifi- 
cant, no longer mentioned in the Annals. The line of Fiachra Elgach 
comes to the front, and replaces in Tireragh the lines of Eochaidh 
Breac and Eoghan Bel. His son Amalgaid had been chief, as to him 
is attributed the building of Carnamalgada, now Mullaghorne, at 
Killala, as a burying place for himself and a meeting place for his 



tribe. Tibraide is mentioned as having given St. Columba land on 
which the church of Skreen was built. 

Owing to its inability to aspire to the sovereignty of Connaught, 
the kingdom of the Hy Fiachrach is seldom mentioned in the 
Annals. But there is more information regarding the affairs of the 

602 (A.U.). The battle of Echros in Muirisc, between the Cinel- 
Coirpri and the Ui-Fiachracli of Muirisc. Maelcothaig, king of the 
Ui-Fiachi-ach, was put to flight. 

Ulcha Derg O'Caellaighe, of the Conmaicne of Cuil Toladh, captured 
the house of Cennfaelaidh, King of Connaught, and killed him in 680. 
Duncad Muirsce became King of Connaught, but was killed in the 
following year (A.T., A.U., F.M.).i 

In 704 Duncad Muirsce's son, Indrechtach, became King of Con- 
naught, but was killed in 706 by the Ulstermen (A.U.). 

In 742 the Gailenga appear fighting the battle of Lurg against the 
Hy Ailello (A.U.). 

In 757 Ailill Meadraige, who had become King of Connaught in 
755, defeated the Hy Briuin Ai in the battle of Druim Robaigh or 
Brecmagh, killing three sons of Fergus, son of Cellach (A.U.). As 
Fergus was Ailill's immediate predecessor, this seems to have been a 
fight for the crown. 

Ailill died in 763, and was succeeded by his cousin, Dubhinnrecht, 
who defeated the Conmaicne at Shnile in the Co. Longford in 765. 
He died in 767, and was succeeded by his brother Donncothaigh, 
who died in 772 (A.U.). The Hy Fiachrach Muaidhe never again 
attained to the sovereignty of Connaught. 

In 773 Flannabhra, lord of Umall, in 777 Dunghal, son of Flaith- 
niadh, lord of Umall, in 783 Aedhgal, King of Umall, died (F.M.). 
These are the first lords of Umall mentioned in the Annals. 

In 776 there was a slaughter of the Calry by the Hy Fiachrach, 
and in 786 "a slaughter of the Ui-Briuin of Umall by the Ui- 
Fiachrach-Muirsce, where all the noblest were slain about the king, 
Flathgal, son of Flannabhra" (A.U.). 

The beginning of the seventh century was mai'ked by the establish- 
ment of great monasteries, and the complete organisation of the 
church upon the native system. 

St. Mochua came to Balla about the year 616, and founded a 
monastery which became the ecclesiastical centre of the Hy Fiach- 
rach of the Moy, claiming supremacy over and dues from the terri- 
tories of Carra and Tireragh generally. Though the succession is 
unknown, it may be inferred that the race of Ailill Molt provided 

1 A Dunchad was king of the Ui Amalgada and Ui Fiachrach Muirisc about 
C97 (Kuno Meyer, " Cain Adamnain," p. 19). 


kings of the Hy Fiachrach for some time after its foundation, and 
that the descendants of Fiachra Elgach had estates in Carra. There 
is evidence of the latter fact in the tradition handed down by 
MacFirbis that O'Caomain had a large estate comprising the parishes 
of Rosslee and Touaghty, as well as a chiefry in Tireragh. 

Fechin of Fore founded Cong in 623, after working in the baronies 
of Ballynahinch and Ross, which are especially connected with him. 
He left these countries about 630. Cong became the great monastery 
of the Conmaicne Cuile Tolad and Conmaicne Mara. 

Colman of Lindisfarne, unable to follow the practices of the Celtic 
church in ISTorthumbria, brought about thirty monks to settle on 
Inishboffin. Disputes arose between the Irish and English monks, 
which were appeased by the foundation of Mayo for the English 
monks in 668, which became a great institution, much frequented 
by young Englishmen of rank, and probably for a very long time 
manned by English monks to some extent. It acquired the greatest 
reputation of all the monasteries of this county down to the twelfth 

The Inishboffin monastery decayed, being suitable only for ascetic 
life. The Columban monks were settled in several places in the 
county, at Oughaval, on Illauncolumbkille and Inishrobe on Lough 
Mask, and at places in Erris. Bat Mayo was the chief of all. 

The Patrician monastery at Aghagower was the only monastery of 
note in Umall. The Round Tower and the great endowment in land 
about it mark its position as the head church of that kingdom. 

Turlough seems to have been the abbey of Clann Cuain, but no 
details are known about it. 

Meelick, owing to its Round Tower, must be taken to have been 
the principal abbey of the Gailenga, but I find no references to it. 
St. Nathi's abbey at Achoni'y eventually overshadowed it, and pro- 
vided the bishop for that kingdom, but was peculiarly the abbey of 
the O'Hara family. 

Regarding the Ciarraige I find no chui-ch of importance correspond- 
ing with the great abbeys already mentioned. 

The abbeys of Killala and Errew were the religious centres of 

Thus all Mayo is Christian, and the monastic organisation is com- 
pleted which lasted, latterly in decay, until replaced in the eleventh 
century in practice, and formally in the twelfth century, by territorial 

We must suppose that the great monasteries were laid out upon 
the usual plan — a church, buildings for common use of the monks, 
separate small cells for monks, and subsidiary buildings and store- 
houses, all surrounded by a high stone wall built without mortar, 


called a ca.shel, rftund or oval like tlie duns and ratlis of the kings 
and chiefs, but sometimes of irregular shape to suit the ground or 
the grouping of buildings. A small piece of the cashel of Mayo 
shows the extent of the enclosure. If the number of students in 
residence at one time was not very large, they and the teaching 
staff and the monks of the church may have found accommodation 
Avithin the cashel. On the other hand, we know that the students 
of some very great colleges lived outside, and Ave might expect that 
the ai-rangement would be general in large colleges. 

The churches of Moyne in the barony of Kilmaine and of Ross in 
that of lloss, which as far as we know were never of more than local 
importance, had cashels enclosing laige areas. That of the former is 
in unusually good condition, and encloses an area measuring 380 by 
330 feet, and that of the latter an equal area at least, judging from 
the remaining part. At Drum and Loonamore in the barony of 
Carra large cashels of rectangular plan are well marked, but they 
seem to have been intended for the accommodation of pilgrims, as 
the Togherpatrick passes through them. 

We cannot say exactly how these enclosures were utilised, but we 
ca,n say that such large enclosures were commonly built round im- 
portant churches. Such enclosures as those of Drum and Loonamore 
suggest walled villages, and that they may have been vised in vai-ious 
ways. In some cases churches were built within forts given up by 
the owner for the purpose. The churches of this period which remain 
are not much more than thirty feet long, usually less. 

Evidence is abundant to show the early use of mortar and steady 
improvement of ecclesiastical architecture, but is wanting, probably 
because there Avas no occasion for change, and Avas no change, in 
regard to secular architecture. We find no evidence of material 
change in military building until it is noted that the Connaught- 
men — i.e. King Torlogh Mor — built castles at Gahvay, Ballinasloe, 
and Gollooney in 1124 (A.T., F.M.). 

The cashels and cahers of dry stone, the earthen forts having the 
sides of their ditches faced with stone, and having stone walls or 
wooden palisades upon the ramparts, answered the purposes of de- 
fence, and continued in use long after the tAvelfth century. We 
have no means of dating them unless they are mentioned in history 
or legend. The great dry-stone forts of the counties of Clare and 
Galway, Avhich are attributed to the Clann Umoir, may have been 
built during the period of their domination, but others, and some 
of them, Avere no doubt built earlier and later. Dunamoe, near 
Belmullet, is in the style of the great cahers of Aran, Avith outer 
defence of upright stone. Kilcashel, near Kilmovee, is a Avell-pre- 
served simple cashel without outer defence. Bally nacarrach, near 


Kilmaine, shows a similar plain cashel strengthened by a deep ditch 
with steep sides. It is the Dun na nGall mentioned in 1159. 

Castlehag in Lough Mask is a mortared caher with an unusually 
high wall. It is first mentioned in 1195. As such moi'tared cahers 
are very rare, we may infer that mortar had not been long applied in 
military architecture when the Anglo-Norman invasion introduced a 
new style and those Irish lords who were in a position to build a fort 
built a castle. It is not likely that any new fort of importance was 
built in Mayo after the de Burgo conquest. 

The domestic buildings inside the forts must have been generally 
of wood, as traces of even foundations of stone are rarely seen. The 
crannoges remained in use even to the sixteenth centurv. 



The Hy Briuin Ai, having become the predominant tribe of Connaught, 
expanded and settled their clans, called collectively the Silmurray, in 
the territories of the Ciarraige, Delbna, Hy Ailello, Hy Maine, Cor- 
camoe, and Conmaicne of Dunmore, thus maintaining and increasing 
their power until new conditions were introduced by the Anglo- 
Norman conquest. During the eleventh century their rivals were 
the O'Rourks, who mastered them for a time. From this period of 
confusion Torlogh Mor O'Conor arose. The Hy Fiachrach and other 
tribes of Mayo played small parts, and seldom come in sight. 

In addition to these tribal quarrels which went on as usual, a more 
destructive warfare was introduced by the Northmen, who made their 
first descent on Ireland in 795. Their first visit to Connaught was 
in 807, when they burnt Inismurray and advanced to Roscommon, 
according to the Annals of Ulster and of Clonmacnoise. But the 
Chronicuiii Scotorum gives Roscam instead of Roscommon, probably 
correctly, as these raids seem to have been confined to the sea coast. 
They made no settlements in Connaught. 

Because they bore a special hatred to Christianity since Charle- 
magne tried to convert the north of Europe by the sword, their raids 
checked the progress of culture by the breaking up of religious com- 
munities and destruction of their libraries. Had they been Christians 
and plundered the churches only of such movables as were taken by 
the Irish from the churches of other tribes — probably only grain, cattle, 
and the like — no permanent harm would have come from an addition 
to the normal amount of plundering in the slightly organised agricul- 
tural and pastoral country. Losses would have been made good in the 
peaceful intervals. 

Of what passed in Mayo there are but a few bare notes of events. 

In 811 the Northmen descended on U mall, but were slaughtered 
by the men of Umall, and they slaughtered the Conmaicne, probably 
Conmaicne Mara. They came again the next year and slaughtered 
the men of Umall, killing Cosgrach, son of Flannabhrat, and Dunadach, 
King of Umall (A.U.). 

815 (A.U.). A battle was gained over the Ui Fiachrach of Muirisc 


by Diarmait, son of Tom:\ltacli. Death of Cathal, son of Ailill, king 
of the Ui Fiachrach. 

The Danes left Ireland alone until about 822, when another series 
of raids began. In 831 Turgesius appeared, established himself in 
the north, and put a fleet on Lough Ree for the devastation and sub- 
jugation of Connaught. The Annals record in 835 (A.U., F.M.) a ci-uel 
oppression and desolation of all Connaught. Two years later a fleet 
from the north plundered Collooney, where Cearball^ son of Dunlaing, 
besieged them for a fortnight, and slaughtered them dreadfully after- 
wards. Other notes are made of battles between Danes and Connaught- 
men about this time, sliowing that they moved about freely and had 
the upper hand in these countries in spite of occasional reverses. 
Dr. Lynch writes : " We read that Turgesius . . . destroyed by fire 
the temple of the church of Mayo, which was roofed with sheets of 
lead." 1 

Turgeis, or Turgesius, was taken prisoner and drowned by jMael- 
seachlainn, King of Meath. He had conquered Ireland to a great 
extent, and was fierce against Chi-istians. For some time after his 
death Connaught seems to have suffered little from the Danes. 

In 848 (F.M.) Loch Laeigh in TJmall ran off into the sea. This 
seems to record the bursting of a bog lake. The place is not known. 

In 887 the Hy Awley slaughtered the foreigners and killed one of 
their chiefs, Elair, son of Bairid (F.M.). 

In 912 (A.U.) "a hosting by Niall, son of Aedh, to Connaught; 
and he gained a battle over the warriors of the north of Connaught, 
viz., over the Ui-Amalgaidh and the men of Umhall, who lost great 
numbers between slain and prisoners, including Maelcluithe, son of 
Conor." Niall, called Glunduff, was afterwards King of Ireland. I 
cannot identify Maelcluithe. 

In 927 (F.M.) the foreigners of Limerick went upon Lough Corrib 
and plundered the crannoges and strong places, but were slaughtered 
by the Connaughtmen next year. 

In 936 they plundered all Connaught up to Moylurg and Slieve 

In 938 (F.M.) Cairbre O'Cinaeidh, lord of the Ui-Aitheachda, died. 
This tribe gave its name to Touaghty in Carra, Tuath Aitheachda. 
It is the only mention of them in the Annals. 

In 964 (F.M.) Fearghal O'Ruairc, King of Connaught, and Taich- 
leach O'Gadhra, King of Luighne, invaded South Connaught. They 
were defeated by the Hy Fiachrach Aidhne, and O'Gadhra and 700 
men were slain in Burren of Corcumroe. 

In 983 (F.M.) Aedh O'Dubhda, King of North Connaught, died. 
The pedigree is evidently defective between Aedh and his ancestor 
1 Camb. Ev., ii. 191. 


])onncathy. Two or three more are needed to span more than 
two hundred years. The O'Conor pedigree has six generations from 
Tomaltach, son of Murgil, to Conor, son of Tadhg of Three Towers, 
contemporaries of ])onncathy and Aedh. 

According to MacFirbis, Aedh and his father made arrangements 
with O'Caomhain, head of the senior line of the race of Fiachra 
Elgach when the sovereignty was settled in the line of Dubhda, which 
are set out here as they illustrate the mode of growth and settlement 
of clans, showing how some clans got greater hereditary estates than 
others of the same race. These were a partition of teriitory and 
honours. O'Caomhain received as his lordship the land from the 
Leaffony river to Toomour, and the Tuath Kuisen in Carra, now 
mainly represented by the parishes of Rosslee and Touaghty. He 
got about half the land of the Hy Fiachrach of the Moy. He was 
allowed also the following privileges and distinctions : — 

1. Of first sitting in the drinking-house. 

2. Of arranging the battle. 

3. That O'Dubhda should stand up before him when he meets him 
or wherever he may be. 

4. That O'Caomhain shall take the first drink and bath. 

5. That whoever takes his first arms in his territory shall take 
them fi'om the descendants of Diarmaid, son of Cathal, son of 

6. That O'Caomhain shall get the Luach leasa (a fine on marriage) 
of every king's daughter ; and the steed and battle dress of every king 
among them for ever, after his being inaugurated, and that the like 
should be given by them to the Ollav — that is, to MacFirbis. 

The remaining twenty years of the century are marked by the 
efforts of Maelseachlainn of Meath and Brian Boro to gain supremacy 
over Connaught, which was generally on Brian's side, as it was in- 
vaded by Maelseachlainn in 983, 992, and 997. It does not appear 
that he penetrated to Mayo, or what parts the Mayo lords played. 
By the year 1000 Brian made good his supremacy over O'Conor and 
O'Rourk, and is said to have received hostages from all Connaught 
in one week in 1001. According to the copy of Keating's History 
used for O'Connor's translation, he levied a tribute of 800 cows and 
800 hogs, paid on 1st November. 

In 988 Conor, son of Donnell, King of Luighne, died, and in 993 
the Gailenga killed Fogartach, son of Diarmait, son of Uathmaran, 
lord of the Corcofirtri (A.T., F.M.). 

In 1002 Conor, son of Maelseachlainn, lord of Corcamodhruadh and 
Aicher Ua Traigthech, and many others, were slain by the men of 
TJmall in West Connaught (F.M., A.T.). This seems to have been 
a raid on behalf of Brian. 


In 1005 Maelruanaidh, son of Aedh O'Dubhda, King of Hy Fiacli- 
racli of Murrisk, and his son Maelseachlainn and his brother Geben- 
nach died (A.U.). 

In lOU the battle of Olontarf ended the Danish invasions, but did 
not end the internal wars and robbery, which were worse than before, 
or are more fully recorded than before. 

The Chronicum Scotorum gives these obits of the Luighne at this 
period : — 

848. Tuathchar, son of Cobhthach, king, died. 
921. Uathmaran, son of Dobhailen, king, died. 
945. Domnall, son of Maelmuaidh, king, was slain by the son of 

Uathmaran, son of Dobhailen, and by the Corcofirtri. 
983. Diarmaid, son of Domnall, king, died. 

The Round Towers are held to have been a result of the incursions 
of the Northmen, built as places of refuge for ecclesiastics and safety 
for relics and treasures of churches. They date from about the year 
900, to which period the Tower of Turlough is assigned by Miss 
Stokes, who attributes those of Aghagower and Meelick to the period 
from 973 to 1013, and those of Killala and Balla to the close of the 
twelfth century. They mark the fact that an important monastery or 
church then existed at their site, and in the county of Mayo seem to 
mark the principal church of an important tribe — Killala for the Hy 
Awley, Turlough for the Clanncuain, Balla for Carra and Hy Fiachrach 
Muaidhe, Meelick for the Gailenga, Aghagower for Clann Maille. 
They show improvement in architecture, as do the contemporaneous 
churches. About the same time, in the tenth century, the Irish 
Romanesque or Decorated style came in, showing a very great advance 
upon the early churches. They are much larger, usually from forty 
to sixty feet in length, the doors and windows being progressively 
more ornamental, and masonry often wholly of cut stone, until this 
style, having attained a high degree of artistic beauty and archi- 
tectural power in the development of the stone roof, was superseded 
by the Gothic style introduced in the twelfth century. Those that 
remain in this county are much ruined, or have been altered in part 
to the Gothic style. 

• In 1021 MacConcannon, lord of Hy Diarmada, was killed by 
O'Gadhra. In 1023 O'Conor, King of Connaught, made an expedition 
into Brefne, where he killed Donnell O'Hara, King of Luighne. In 
1024 occvu-red "the battle of Ath na Croisi in Corann, between 
Ua Maeldoraidh, i.e. King of Cenel Conaill, and Ua Ruairc, when 
O'Ruairc was defeated, and a terrible slaughter of the men of Brefne 
and Connacht was committed by the Cenel Conaill" (L.C., A.XJ., 
F.M., A.T.). The O'Haras and O'Garas seem to have been opposed to 

42 thp: early history of the county of mayo. 

O'Conor and on the side of O'Ruaiic in the years 1021 and 1023, and to 
have been on his side, together with O'Ruairc, in 1024, combining to 
resist the Ulstermen. But this reading depends on the description of 
those who were killed as " of Brefne and Connacht." So it may have 
been only a successful raid against O'Kourk and his allies, who could 
not resist Ulster without help from O'Conor. All accounts call it a 
defeat of O'Rourk, who is said to have lost 2000 men. 

In 1030 Donncad, lord of Cairbre, was killed by the Hy Fiachrach 
of Murrisk before the house of Adamnan's shrine, that is, at Skreen 

In 1032 Conor, son of Maelseachlainn O'Dubhda, was killed by his 
cousin, the son of Niall O'Dubhda (A.T.). 

In 1051 Aedh O'Conor, King of Connaught, defeated and killed 
many of the Conmaicne in Sliabh Formaeile. He blinded Amalgaid 
O'Flaherty, King of West Connaught, and fixed his residence at 
Tuam (F.M., A.T.). In 1055 he preyed Luighne. 

In 1059 Aedh O'Dubhda, King of Hy Awley, and Duarcan O'Hara, 
King of Luighne, were killed by their own people, and Ruaidhri 
O'Gadhra was slain (A.T., A.U.). 

The remainder of this century was marked by the fighting of Con- 
naught against the kings of Ulster and Munster, who sought to 
establish supremacy over Connaught, and by the quarrels of O'Conors 
and O'Rourks and O'Flaherties, who were faiily evenly matched. 
The O'Conors rather lost ground until Torlogh Mor became King 
of Connaught and made himself King of Ireland. Mayo territories 
are seldom mentioned in these affairs. 

In 1063 MacLochlainn, King of Ulster, invaded Connaught as far 
as the Moy and the west of Luighne, when O'Conor and the chiefs of 
Connaught submitted. "The cave of Alia, in Cera, was captured by 
the Connaughtmen, against the people of Aedh Ua Conchobair, in 
which one hundred and sixty persons were suffocated " (L.C. and 
A.U.). But the F.M. say that the cave of Alia Gere in Carra was 
taken by the Conmaicne against the Connaughtmen, that the cave 
was demolished, and that the jewels of Connaught were carried off 
thence. It seems to me that two events have been mixed, the descent 
or raid of MacLochlainn on Connaught and a fight between the 
Conmaicne of Moyrein and O'Conor. The cave has been assumed to 
be Aille, near Westport, which, in my opinion, never was in Carra. 
That is a cliff where a river runs into natural caves, which could not 
be destroyed. There are no signs of ancient fortifications near it. 

The Four Masters seem to give it the full name Alia Gere. It is 
evident that a fort was captured with an artificial cave which was 
destroyed. It cannot be identified as in Carra, and, considering the 
evident inaccuracy of parts of the lecord, may be elsewhere. There 


•was a once well-known stone cave in Grecraighi in which Grec Mac 
Arodh found Cormac Mac A it aftei' his birth in Luigni Firtri's house, 
according to the Legend of the Birth of Cormac.^ 

In 1067 Donnslevy O'Gara, prince of Luighne, was killed by Brian 

Torlogh O'Brien of Thomond brought an army of men of Munster, 
Leinster, and Ossory and encamped at Lough Hacket, whence we 
must suppose that at least the south of Mayo was plundered. 
Kuaidhri O'Conor submitted to Torlogh in 1076, but the submission 
must have been temporary, as Torlogh came again in 1079 and drove 
him out of Connaught, bringing a fleet as well as an army, for he 
" went upon Loch Beannchair, and Innsi Modh, and plundered the 
Cruach " (F.M.). Loch Beannchair is Tullaghan Bay, Innsi Modh 
are the islands of Clew Bay, and the Cruach is probably that from 
which Ballycroy takes its name (F.M.). 

In 1088 Murtough O'Brien attacked Euaidhri and sent a fleet 
round to the west coast, but Ruaidhri slaughtered its crews. 

Caesar Otway records in his " Sketches in Erris and Tyrawley," 
p. 60, that the Leacht Air lorruis. Monument of Slaughter of Erris, 
" a rude conical pillar of stones," was said to have been the scene of 
the slaughter of an invading army from Munster. A semi-spherical 
mound a mile and a half from it was called after the King of Munster, 
in which many years before had been found a skeleton standing up- 
right. The Laght is near Binghamstown in the Mullet, and may 
very well commemorate one of these invasions and the defeat of the 
invaders. But the mound burial seems to be much too early for this 
period, and we must suppose that the tradition of the invasion from 
Munster has attached itself to the ancient burial mound. They must 
have been but a small party engaged in robbing the country, as no 
great force could have been in these parts to resist them. 

In 1090 Taichleach O'Hara was taken prisoner (A.U.). 

In 1091 Laidgnen, i.e. the Buidennach O'Duinncathaigh, lord of 
Gailenga, was slain by the Hy Briuin (F.M.). 

In 1092 Ruaidhri O'Conor was treacherously blinded by his foster- 
son O'Flaherty. Until Torlogh Mor rose to power the O'Conors were 
depressed, they and O'Rourks and O'Flaherties were incessantly 
fighting, and Connaught suffered many invasions because there was 
no king able to protect it. O'Brien was the principal assailant. He 
tried to effect a partition of Connaught, making O'Rourk chief king 
of Connaught, and having O'Flaherty as an ally. On one of these 
occasions, 1093, O'Brien is said to have encamped in the plain of the 
Hy Fiachrach from midsummer to St. Michael's Day. Lough Hacket 
seems to have been usually made O'Brien's headquarters. 
^ " Silva Gadelica," ii. p. 278. 


In 1094 Gillii na ulnghen Ua Cobhthaigh, King of Umall, Airchin- 
nech of Agliagower, was killed by the men of Carra (F.M.). 

In 1095 Taiclileach O'Hara, loitl of Luighne, was slain with many 
of his people by the Conmaicne of Dunmore, and in 1096 Murtough 
O'Dubhda, king of the Hy Fiachraeh, was slain treacherously by his 
own people (A.T., F.M.). 

Connaught seems now to have had some respite from O'Brien 
invasions, in which at least South Mayo must have suffered severely. 
O'Dowda was usually on O'Conor's side. 

In 1106 Murtough O'Brien deposed Donnell O'Conor and made his 
younger brother Torlogh king in his place, being then nineteen years 
old, whose power increased until he was able to make good his title of 
King of Ireland in 1136. Why he was able so soon to raise the power 
of the Silmuri-ay does not appear. It may be supposed that he showed 
great abilities for war, and as O'Rourks and O'Flaherties were some- 
what depressed by the incessant wars and invasions, the minor tribes 
adhered to him for protection's sake, and eventually the greater, who 
would find it more to their advantage to join Torlogh in successful 
invasions of other countries than to resist him and suffer invasion 
from him. Great as he made himself, it must be remembered that 
he was such a king as Brian Boro before him, who forced himself by 
fighting into the highest position. There was no government, no 
administration of public affairs, only supremacy and power of levying 
tribute from weaker kings. 

In consequence of his power, we may suppose that Mayo men were 
increasing in prosperity owing to freedom from plundering and the 
profits of plunder of other provinces, whereof those who joined in 
expeditions would share. But few references to Mayo men and 
countries are found. 

In 111.3 "a thunderbolt fell on Cruachan Aigie in the night of 
the festival of St. Patrick, which destroyed thu-ty of the fasting 
people" (L.C.). This seems to be the event recorded under 1106 
in C.S. : " Ua Longain Airchinnech of Ard-Patrick was burned by 
lightning in Cruach-Padraig." Cruachan Aigle is near Oughaval, near 

In 1123 Tadhg O'Malley was drowned with liis ship at Arann 

In 1126 Toidogh invaded Munster and encamped in Ormond. 
Donnell Finn O'Dowda, lord of the Hy Awley, was drowned as he 
was bringing back the prey from the baronies of Connello in Co. 
Limerick. Torlogh was helped by a Connaught fleet on this occasion, 
and again in the following year when it defeated the Munster fleet. 

In 1128 Mayo men were out with him invading Meath and Leinster, 
Avhen he went as far south as Wexford. O'Gara, lord of Luighne, was 


killed. Meanwhile Tigernan O'Rourk led tlie forces of Brefne, the 
Hy Fiachrach, and others against Ulster. The cavalry of Conor, son 
of MacLochlin, defeated the cavalry of O'Rourk and killed Taich- 
leach, son of Aedh O'Dowda. This defeat seems to have led Torlogh 
to make a truce with O'Brien until 1130, when he took a fleet 
to Desmond and another as far as Tory Island, which plundered 
liosguill. In 1131 O'Malley was slain by Donnell O'Dowda's son in 
the stone church of Oughaval, but within three months his own spear 
killed him " through the miracle of Columcille." 

Torlogh fared ill now, and O'Rourk had to submit to Conor 
O'Lochlin. He was much hampered by family quarrels at this time. 

In 1133 Cormac MacCarthy and Conor O'Brien invaded Connaught 
and plundered a great part of the country, and destroyed Dunmore 
and Dun Mughdhord, now represented by Doon Castle, near West- 
port. O'Rourk plundered the Hy Fiachrach. Torlogh and O'Brien 
made peace for a year. 

In 1135 Awliff, son of Donnell Finn O'Dowda, lord of Hy Awley, 
was slain by his own people. 

About this period the kingdom of Luighne seems to have been 
practically broken into two separate kingdoms under O'Gai'a and 
O'Hara, the former holding as his kingdom so much as is in the county 
of Mayo, with the country of the Gregry under him. The O' Haras 
may be held to be no longer Mayo men, having no supremacy over 
Gailenga. The next few years are marked by great internal disorder in 
Connaught and by Torlogh's quarrels with his sons and other troubles. 
His weakness led to quarrels among the chieftains, and actions of 
unusual violence on his pai't, but by 1142 he overcame his troubles 
and made his power felt by the other provinces. 

In 1137 Tuam, Cong, Termon Caillainne, Mayo, and Kilboyounagh 
were burnt, apparently by invaders, though they are not named, or 
by Connaught tribes, as Torlogh was fighting with O'Rourk and 
O'Melaghlin, and punished his own subject O'Concannon. " All the 
province of Connaught was laid waste from the Drowes to the 
Shannon and to Echtghe, and the people themselves were driven into 
West Connaught." But by 1142 Brefne, Teffa, and Meath had to 
submit to Torlogh. 

In 1143 Aedh, son of Murtough O'Dowda, lord of Hy Fiachrach, 
died (A.T.). . 

In 1147 Duarcan O'Hara was killed by O'Gara (A.T.). 

In 1153 the Hy Fiachrach were in an army led into Meath by 
Torlogh's son Ruaidhri, who encamped at Fordruim on the way back, 
without sending out scouts. The Ulstermen surprised them as they 
Avere pitching camp and killed many, including Brian O'Dowda, lord 
of Hv Fiachrach. 


In 115-i "a fieet was brou^^ht l)y Torlogh O'Conor round Ireland 
northwards — i.e. the fleets of Dun Gaillimhe, of Conmaicne Mara, 
of the men of Umall, of Hy Awley, of Hy Fiachrach, and the 
Cosnamhaigh O'Dowda in command over them — and they plundered 
Tirconnell and Inishowen. The Cinel Owen and Muircheartach, 
son of Niall, sent persons over sea, who hired the fleets of the 
Gall Gael, of Ara, of Cantire, of Man, and the borders of Alba in 
general, over which MacScelling was in command ; and when they 
arrived near Inishowen they fell in with the other fleet and a naval 
battle was fiercely and spiritedly fought between them ; and they 
continued the conflict from the beginning of the day until evening, 
and a great numljer of the Connaughtmen together with Cosnam- 
haigh O'Dowda were slain by the foreigners. The foreign host was 
defeated and slaughtered ; they left their ships behind, and the teeth 
of MacScelling were knocked out " (F.M.). But Murtough O'Lochlin 
plundered Moy Ai and Moylurg. 

Torlogh seems to have made more use of ships than is recorded 
of any other king. The Mayo and Galway people seem to have 
been more seafaring than the other seaside people, or else Torlogh 
w\as the first to use ships on a large scale. 

It is not clear who this Cosnamhaigh was. Cosnamhaigh whose 
death is recorded in 1162, and Cosnamhaigh whose death is recorded 
in 1181, are called respectively lord and crown prince of Hy Awley, 
and of the former ^lacFirbis writes : " Cosnamhaigh Mor, the only 
fighter of a hundred that came in later times, and who was treacher- 
ously slain by O'Gloinin in his own house at Inis Cua, on account of 
(a dispute about) a greyhound whelp" (H.F. 113). I am inclined, 
therefore, to think that there were three of the name about the same 
period, and that they were of the Clann Domnaill of Loch Con. In 
their description there is some small indication that this clan had 
been placed over, or among, the Hy Awley by a partition of the 
lordship, so that the Hy Awley no longer were directly under 
O'Dowda. Their ancestor had been killed by the O'Gaughans at 
Bearna Domnaill in Moyheleog. 

In 1155 Fiachra, son of Cethearnach O'Ceirin, lord of Kerylough- 
narney, died. 

Torlogh Mor died at Dunmore on the 20th ^lay 1056, and his son 
Ruaidhri became King of Connaught. 

The Cross of Cong was made to hold a piece of the Cross which was 
sent to Toi'logh in 1123. Torlogh built a great cathedral at Tuam, 
of which the chancel arch remains, used as a doorway. He built 
castles at Galway and Dunlo and Collooney. 

Ruaidhri O'Conor's attempt to succeed to the title of King of 
Ireland was resisted by Murtough O'Lochlin, who was too powerful 


for him. He was beaten near Avdu in 1159 with great loss. The 
son of Finnan Ua Sibhlen, King of the Hy Eachach of the ]Moy, was 
slain. O'Lochlin carried the war into Connaught, and bui-nt Dun- 
more and Duiiciarraighe and Dun na nGall. Dunciarraighe is not 
known. Dun na nGall is the great fort in Bally nacarrach to the 
west of Kilmaine. But Tigernach's continuation notes only that 
after burning Dunmore he marched as far as Dun na nGall. 

In this year Dermot, son of Teige O'Mulrony, King of Moylurg 
and of the Aicidecht, died. In 1187 the death of his son Maurice 
is recorded " in his own mansion on Claenloch in Clann Chuain." 
This house was probably Boyd's Island Crannoge in Lough Lannagh 
near Castlebar. " Aicideacht," " Chiefry " is a name of Clann Cuain 
territory. The tradition was that Ruaidhri Mear, son of Taichleach, 
son of Niall O'Dowda, being king, came to cosher on Donnell O'Quin, 
chief of Clann Cuain, and took his daughter by force. O'Quin killed 
Ruaidhri next morning, and then placed himself under the protec- 
tion of O'Mulrony, afterwards called MacDermot. MacFirbis places 
Ruaidhri in the list of kings next after Aedh, who died in 1143, 
but does not date his death. It is likely that the story and date 
are accux-ate, but the gi'andfather of Ruaidhri must be an earlier 
Xiall than was supposed by MacFirbis. 

O'Lochlin was too strong for Ruaidhri O'Conor, who now en- 
deavoured to subdue Meath, Leinster, and Munster. The death of 
O'Lochlin in 1166 left him by far the most powerful king, and he 
became King of Ireland. Thus Connaught had an unusual degree 
of freedom from foreign devastation for some years. 

In 1169 the Normans invaded Ireland. 

A tract written by Torna O'Mulconaire, who was chief poet of 
Connaught in 1310, shows the change in the relation of the O'Conor 
kings of Connaught to the kings of the Hy Fiachrach, of Luighne, 
and of Umhall since the time of the Book of Rights. It must be 
taken to show the claims which O'Conor enforced, when he could, 
vmtil the de Burgo conquest. The following is O'Donovan's trans- 
lation of a part : " These are the stipends of the royal chieftains 
of Connacht from O'Conchobhair, i.e. twelve score beeves and twelve 
score sheep on May-day to MacOireachtaigh ; twelve score beeves 
and twelve score hogs to himself every All-hallow-tide, and these 
are levied from Ubhall. Twelve score milch cows and twelve score 
sheep on May-day to O'Fionnachtaigh ; twelve score hogs and twelve 
score beeves every All-hallow-tide to himself, and these are levied 
for him from Luighne Chonnacht. Twelve score milch cows and 
twelve score sheep to O'Maoilbhrenuinn every May-day ; twelve 
score beeves and twelve score hogs every All-hallow-tide to himself, 
and these are levied for him from Tir Fhiachrach, and from Cuil 


Cnamha, and from Cuil Ceainiamlia. Twelve score milch cows and 
twelve score sheep on May-day to O'Flannagain ; and twelve score 
beeves and twelve score hogs every All-hallow-tide to himself, and 
these are levied in Tir-Amhalghaidh and in Irrus." 

The Danish invasions did much to shatter the frame of the Irish 
Church which had grown up while the Western Roman Empire was 
in disorder. When Ireland settled down to better conditions the 
western pai-ts of Europe had been reorganised. As before the year 
800 we find the Church of Ireland by degrees, and after contest, 
abandoning certain points of ritual and piactice in favour of the 
Roman views, so from the tenth century we see signs of another 
change, from the jurisdiction of abbots over the monks and monasteries 
of their order to that of a bishop over a defined area. 

By the close of the tenth century the Annals mention a Bishop of 
Connaught ; by the close of the eleventh he is called Archbishop of 
Connaught. We do not see what went on locally during these 
centuries, but we find that the principle of territorial episcopacy was 
accepted by the close of the eleventh. The work of the twelfth- 
century reformers was to establish discipline and organisation on the 
continental model by afiixing to certain sees an exclusive territorial 
jurisdiction, and by submitting the whole Church to the jurisdiction 
of the pope. The first point was formally accepted and carried into 
operation at the Synod of Fiadh Mic Aenghusa in 1111 and at that 
of Rath Breasail in 1118, and the second point at that of Kells in 
1152, when the Chui'ch of Ireland ceased to exist as an independent 
Church, and became a branch of the Church of Rome, four arch- 
bishops being appointed and receiving palls from the pope. 

The Synod of Rath Breasail proposed five sees for Connaught, 
with liberty to the people of Connaught to rearrange them, provided 
they did not exceed five in number. Under this arrangement Mayo 
would have been divided between the sees of Killala and Cong. 
Killala was to comprise the present diocese with the barony of 
Carbury in Sligo and the diocese of Achonry. Cong was to comprise 
all the rest of Mayo, and the lands of the Conmaicne in the baronies 
of Ross and Ballynahinch, and those of the Ciarraige in the county 
of Roscommon as far east as Castlereagh. 

But it was found impossible to absorb the sees of important tribes, 
the O'Flaherties, O'Heynes, O'Garas, and O'Haras. Either at once 
or before the Synod of Kells the Mayo arrangements were modified, 
and dioceses formed as they appear at the Synod of Kells. The 
diocese of Killala was the immediate kingdom of O'Dowda. That of 
Achonry was the kingdom of the Luighne and Gailenga. That of 
ContT was altered by transfer of the four southern parishes of the 
barony of Costello to Tuam, and of the Roscommon lands to Ardcarne 


or Elphiii. It is given a new name and called the diocese of Mayo 
at the Synod of Kells, having Mayo Abbey Church as its cathedral. 
It does not appear that there ever was a bishopric of Cong, as a 
diocese including Mayo ; the see may have been fixed at Mayo from 
the beginning. The diocese of Mayo was amalgamated with that of 
Tuam in 1209. 

The Bishop of Tuam became Archbishop because the O'Oonor 
kings of Connaught had made Tuam their chief residence during the 
eleventh and twelfth centuries, and because Toidogh JNIor was so 
powerful in the middle of the twelfth century. 

This transfer of power affected the position of the abbots and 
changed the organisation of the Church. The ancient orders decayed 
and most of the monasteries disappeared as active monastic bodies. 
It seems clear that the old rules, those of Patrick, Ciaran, Columcille, 
Brendan, Coman, and Fechin prevailing generally in Mayo, were 
abandoned during the twelfth century. The endowments remained 
vested in the successors of Patrick, etc. In 1210 these endowments 
were formally transferred to the bishop of the diocese in which they 
lay. The note in the Annals of Clonmacnoise recording this event 
mentions Comarb and Termon lands as transferred. The distinction 
is not clear, but I apprehend Comarb lands to comprise any lands, 
and Termon lands to be those lands immediately round a church 
which got the name of Termon from early rights of sanctuary. I see 
some indications that distinction was made between endowments given 
to the ancient Comarb or church, and those given to the abbot and 
convent of New Augustinian Canons, which were left to them. 
Hence it is that the bishop so generally owned the lands about the 
ancient parish churches. 

The monastex'ies which survived converted themselves into Augus- 
tinian Canons, or were transformed into cathedral chapters, as in the 
case of vicars choral in Tuam and Annaghdown. In some cases 
dean and provost or precentor seem to represent abbot and Ferlegind 
of the ancient abbey ; prebendaries and canons seem to represent 
them in some cases. But the subject is obscure. The abbot being 
often himself a bishop, the change was easy in such a case. 

The Abbey of Mayo became cathedral. Cong, Inishmaine, and 
Errew reconstituted themselves. All others disappeared. Errew 
seems to have been built in the twelfth century under the influence 
of the new style introduced by the Cistercians, but before Irish 
architects were familiar with it. Cong was reconstructed at the 
beginning of the thirteenth century, and Inishmaine at about the 
same time. 

Until the de Burgo conquest no other orders were established in 



The reduction of the number of dioceses was followed by a reduction 
of the number of parishes. This seems to have been carried out at 
the end of the century in these dioceses, as we find, in the epistle of 
Pope Innocent III. of 1st April 1198 defining the extent of the 
diocese of Killala, a list of forty-seven parish chui-ches in Tirawley 
and Erris, reduced in 1306, in the Ecclesiastical Taxation, to twenty 
parishes, while in Tireragh there are the same number as in 1306, 
those recognised in the present day. Yet there are other old churches 
in Tireragh, and I suppose the amalgamation to have been carried out 
there first because Tireragh had in very early times been under the 
Abbey of Balla generally. 



By the treaty of Windsor in 1175, Ruaidhri O'Oonor became the 
vassal of the King of Ensjland. He could not execute the conditions 
he had undertaken, not having the control over the kings and lords 
of Ireland thereby made his vassals, or the organised administration 
needed to secure collection and payment of dues and tributes. 

The invasion of Connaught in 1177 was not made on behalf of 
King Henry. Murrough O'Oonor engaged Milo de Oogan and his 
soldiers to support him in assuming the sovereignty of Oonnaught. 
The rebellion failed, and was but an ordinary event of Irish clan 
quarrels, in which, by custom of the country, each side got what out- 
side support it could. 

It is a commonplace of Irish history that Henry II. gave his 
justiciary, William FitzAudelin, a grant of Connaught in 1179, but I 
cannot find authority for it, or even a reference to any authority. 
It is perhaps due to the confusion of William FitzAudelin with 
William de Burgo, and to a misreading of a date of some grant. If 
a grant was made it was inoperative. The Annals do not record 
events to account for it. All other grants follow upon events recorded 
in the Annals or in the English Records. Several grants of this 
period were inoperative, made in view of contingencies which did 
not arise. 

Conor Moenmoy, having forced his father into retirement, joined 
O'Melaghlin in destroying an English castle at Killare in 1184. 
This was an aggression, as Meath was reserved to the King of Eng- 
land. Ruaidlui returned in 1185 to recover his kingdom with the 
help of the O'Briens and English from Munster, but failed. The 
entries in the Annals of Loch Ce go to show that John de Courcy's 
invasion in 1188 was due to Henry's endeavour to restore Ruaidhri. 

In 1195 Cathal Crobhderg invaded Munster, but made peace at 
Athlone, whereby Cathal's position as King of Connaught was 
recognised, de facto if not de jure. Up to this time the King of 



England made no attack on the King of Connaught, but the actual 
kings of Connaught, Conor and Cathal, made two unprovoked attacks 
upon the land of their lord. 

The Gormanston Register has a charter of about 1195, wherein W. 
de Bui'go grants to Hugh de Lacy ten cantreds of Connaught, the 
Three Tuaths, Moylurg-Tiierrill, Corran, Carbury Drumcliff, Tire- 
raghmoy, the two cantreds of Tirawley, Erris, Leyny, Slievelua, for 
100 marks yearly and the service of ten knights. W. de Burgo 
must have had a grant from the king, given to him to' enable him to 
raise forces against Cathal. We may take it to have been the con- 
sequence of Cathal's invasion of Munster, and to have been made 
inoperative by the peace of Athlone. 

After Ruaidhri's death in 1198, and an arrangement between the 
Cathals whereby Cathal Carrach got a large tract in the south of 
Connaught as a lordship, Cathal Crobhderg in 1199 and 1200 
attacked the English at Athlone and invaded Munster, where he 
took William de Burgo's Castle Wilkin and Castle Connell. This 
was aggression by Cathal. The Justiciary and William de Burgo 
entered into treaty with Cathal Carrach to set him up as king. 

In 1200 and 1201 King John began to make grants of land in 
Connaught. He gave Tirmany, which was something more than the 
bai'ony of Athlone, and Tirieghrathbothe, which was a tract of land 
next the Castle of Athlone, to Geoffrey de Costentin, and Dungalue — 
Galway, or perhaps Galey on Lough Ree — to Richard Tirel. The 
grantees never had possession. 

While John was Earl of Mortaigne he made an inoperative grant 
to Hugh de Lacy of six cantreds of North Connaught, which may be 
attributed to 1195, or more probably to 1199, when Cathal Ci'obhderg 
was in possession of North Connaught. 

In 1201 Cathal Crobhderg made terms and was brought back to 
Connausfht. The death of Cathal Carrach left him without a lival in 
his family. But the murder of 600 to 700 of William de Burgo's 
soldiers caused a war between Cathal and William, which seems to 
have been considered a private affair. In 1203 William took up the 
cause of Conor Moenmoy's sons and advanced as far north as Mayo. 
King John took up Cathal's cause. William made no resistance. 
He surrendered his castles peaceably to the king, who certainly ful- 
filled his obligations to Cathal. William appeared before the king in 
October 1203, and justified his conduct, as he was allowed to return 
in 1204 and was given possession of all his castles. 

At some time he had a gi'ant of some parts of Connaught, as he 
made grants. But it was cei-tainly inoperative. 

In March 1204 the king appointed Meyler FitzHenr}- and the 
Archdeacon of Stafford to settle all matters between him and Cathal 


by the advice of Walter de Lacy. By August an agreement was 
made that Cathal should give up two thirds of Connaught and keep 
one third by right of inheritance at a yearly rent of 100 marks. 
In 1205 the king accepted another proposal by Cathal, that Cathal 
should hold of the king in fee as a barony one third of Connaught 
at 100 marks a year, and should pay for the other two thirds a tribute 
of 300 marks, and out of them grant two cantreds to the king. This 
arrangement lasted for some time. 

The cause of surrender of two thiids I take to have been Cathal's 
inability to pay the costs of the armies which were raised on his 
behalf. It was very difficult at all times for an Irish king to raise 
money or cattle from his people, for one in Cathal's circumstances 
impossible. The arrangement obviated difficulties. Considering the 
King of Connaught's attack upon his lord's lands, and the great ex- 
pense of the wars consequent upon it, the settlement does not seem 

In 1207 the king pardoned Gilbert and Philip de Angulo, who had 
been outlawed in 1195, and confirmed Cathal's grant of the cantred 
of Moenmagh to Gilbert, who had taken service under Cathal in 1195. 
At the same time the king granted to Gilbert a cantred of land in 
Eastyre, Wintelmolman, Ul'unan, and Nyaki to hold by service of 
four knights. Eastyre and Nyaki I cannot guess at, but Wintelmolman 
and UPunan may be taken to be Muintir-Mailfhinnain and O'Loman. 
There was an O'Loman at Finnure in Abbeygormican parish. 
Muintii'-Mailfhinnain appears in 1333 as the title of a great cantred 
which extended to that neighbourhood. So the king's grant may be 
taken to have been one of his two cantreds lying between Moenmagh 
and the cantred next Athlone. 

King John came to Ireland in 1210. Cathal met him and arranged 
that John should give his son Aedh a charter for the third part of 
Connaught, and that he should give Aedh to John as a hostage. The 
annalist blames Cathal's wife for advising Cathal to break his en- 
gagement. John de Gray, the new justiciary, invaded Connaught. 
Cathal submitted, and gave his son Torlogh as a hostage. But it does 
not appear that the proposed arrangement was carried out. 

Something seems to have occurred in 1215 which caused the 
king to provide for new arrangements in regard to Connaught by 
grants ^ of the same date, one to Richard de Burgo of " all the land 
of Connac' which William his father held of the king in fee farm 
rendering yearly 300 marks, . . . saving to the king the castle of 
Athlone, with the cantred in which it is situated ; and saving to 
Godfrey de Constentin the cantred - given to him by the king in 
exchange for the former cantred ; Godfrey to render homage and due 
1 D.I., i., Nos. 653, «54, (556. 2 Xj.j Xu^tlia, D.I., i., No. 590. 


service to Richard de Biugh ; saving to the king ilo7vifiones crociarum, 
in tliat land " ; and one to the King of Connaught of all the land of 
Connaught saving to the king the castle of Athlone, in fee during 
good service, not to be dispossessed save by order of the King's Court, 
at 300 marks yearly. Another paper shows that Cathal had agreed 
to pay .0000 marks for this grant. The gnint to R. de Burgh was 
to provide for failure of Cathal to accept his grant in accordance 
with agreement. This settlement lasted for some years. 

In 1221 Walter de Lacy bviilt a castle at Lanesborough in Annaly, 
a country not included in the kingdom of Connaught. Cathal in- 
vaded West Meath and took the castle. This aggression was arranged 

In 1224 Cathal's son Aedh helped the king in the war against the 
de Lacys, and was given for his expenses temporary possession of the 
land of Tirbriuin, Conmaicne, and Caladh — that is, of all O'Rourk's 
kingdom except the northern part of Leitrim. 

The justiciary supported Aedh in succession to Cathal, who died in 

On the 25th June 1226 Geoffrey de Mai-isco was made justiciary 
in succession to William the Earl Marshall. On the 30th June orders 
were made for his guidance. He was to summon " Oethus, son of 
Kathal, late King of Connaught, to be before the justiciai'y at the 
King's Court, to surrender the land of Connaught, which he ought no 
longer to hold on account of his father's and his own f oifeiture ; by 
the charter of King John granted to Kathal, he only held the land 
so long as he should faithfully serve the king. If Oethus do not 
surrender the land, the justiciary shall by the Court ascertain the 
truth of the forfeiture ; and if he foifeited the land, the justiciary 
shall take it into the K.'s hand." ^ It was further ordered at the same 
time that, on taking into the king's hand the land of Connaught on 
account of the forfeiture of Oethus, he grant seisin thereof to Richard 
de Burgo at a rent of 300 marks for the first five years and 500 
mai-ks subsequently ; five of the best cantreds nearest Athlone to be 
retained for the king.- 

A report by Geoffrey to the king shows that I'esistance Avas feared ; 
it is undated, but was made about August, soon after he landed. 
William made no resistance. Geoffrey reported that all the king's 
castles were held and fortified against him, except that of Limerick 
held by Richard de Burgo. But he believed that it was not William 
Marshall's wish that his bailiffs should hold them against the king. 
" All the Irish are so banded together, and so wheedled by William 
Crassus, that they cannot be recalled from their conspiracy." . . . 
" As to the King of Connaught, who at the instigation of William 
1 D.I., i., No. 1-102. ' D.I., i., No. 1403. 


Orassus has become heedless of the king's mandates, the justiciary 
summoned him to come to Dublin under safe conduct of Walter de 
Lacy ; as the king did not come, the justiciary appointed a day for 
him at the K.'s castle of Athlone, which is on the confines of the 
king's territory, and is fortified with men and provisions against 
the K." 

It is evident that Aedh was to be brought to trial in the usual way 
if he denied the forfeiture, and that the result was not prejudged. 
Provision was made for the case of forfeiture. This grant to Richard 
did not come into operation. Aedh was given an opportunity again 
of coming to terms. It is to be remembered that he held the land 
from the king as a baron. But the idea of trial or submission to a 
court would not commend itself to an Irish prince who acknowledged 
no right but force. 

From the Annals of Loch Ce we learn that when Aedh appeared at 
Athlone he seized the messengers sent to treat with him, burnt the 
town of Athlone, killed the constable of the castle, and released the 
hostages of Connaught. The Annals say that William Marshall 
forcibly took him out of the King's Court when he was betrayed 
there. This is certainly wrong. The course of events was that 
W^illiam Marshall was suspected of an intention to rebel, and perhaps 
did make preparations, that a plot was made among the Irish lords 
on his behalf, in which Aedh joined, and that Aedh did not submit 
quietly as William Marshall did when the new justiciary came. This 
Athlone affair committed Aedh to open war. 

On the 21st May 1228 Richard de Burgo got a grant in fee of all 
Connaught which had come to the king by Aedh's forfeiture, at a 
rent of 300 marks for the first five years and 500 marks a year after- 
wards, and for the service of ten knights ; the king retained five 
cantreds and reserved episcopal investitures. This gi-ant is the origin 
of the de Burgo lordship of Connaught. 

The five cantreds, afterwards known as "the King's Cantreds," 
were — Omany, Tirmany, Moy Ai, the Three Tuaths, Moylurg, and 

Tirmany comprised the baronies of Athlone, part of Ballymoe in 
Roscommon and Galway, some land north of Roscommon, and some 
more land west of the Suck in Killian. Omany comprised the 
baronies of Kilconnell, Clonmacnowen, Moycarn, and some more. 
The boundaries of these cantreds are uncertain in places. 

A ten years' war ensued before the O'Conors and their allies were 
subdued, and Richard de Burgo and his barons were established and 
fortified in their demesnes in 1237. The king made various grants 
in his cantreds which came to nothing. He held only the castles 
of Athlone and Randown and some adjoining lands. The Annals 


lecord how various O'Conors were set up as kings of Connaught 
during this period. The king seems to have been willing to let the 
King of Connaught hold Sihnurray and Moylurg, and even the whole 
of his five cantreds, if he could maintain his position among his 
own people. That was impossible for a long time. Felim O'Conor 
appeared eventually to be the strongest, and submitted and accepted 
the five cantreds in 1287, at a rent of £400 a year (35 D.K., p. 37). 
He endeavoured to keep the peace, and was for many years a faith- 
ful vassal, even going to help in the Welsh wars. 

In 1249 Felim's son Aedh attacked the Berminghams in Tireragh. 
Felim supported his action. The justiciary therefore drove Felim 
out of the country, and made Torlogh, son of Aedh, king in his place. 
But peace was made with Felim, and he was restored in 1251. In 
1253 it appears that Felim had held four cantreds at the king's plea- 
sure. At this time he must have been deprived of another cantred, 
for the king began to give permanent tenures in Tirmany and 
Omany in 1252. Henceforth the kings of Connaught seem to 
have been only tenants at will. The Pipe Roll of ix. Edw. I. shows 
that Felim had held 3 cantreds under rent. The outbreak of 1245 
thus appears to have cost Felim 2 cantreds. Henceforth his son 
Aedh was evidently beyond his control. 

The O'Conors joined in O'lSTeill's rebellion, and continued the war 
in Connaught after O'Xeill's defeat. The justiciary had to come into 
Connaught. Peace was made in 1262, and a site was chosen for the 
castle of Roscommon. The kings of Connaught were constantly at 
war with the English until Richard, the Earl of Ulster, came of age 
and got control of his estates, when his great power soon forced the 
O'Conors to confine their fighting to their own family and subjects. 

This arrangement lasted until after the battle of Athenry in 1317. 
In 1318 Roger Mortimer let to King Torlogh the king's lands of 
Silmurray, Fethys (Tuathas?), and the lands of the King of Tirmany 
(O'Kelly), saving the lands of Englishmen and those granted in 

In 1324 Torlogh was given the three cantreds which Felim had 
held. This was a period when Connaught kings went up and down 

In 1331 the escheator reported that no income came from Richard 
de Exeter's Connaught lands, because Torlogh and his brother Cathal 
forcibly held them. It was a very troubled period for the O'Conors. 
The Earl had crushed them and held his own dominions with a strong 
hand, intervening as he pleased in their feuds. On the other hand, 
the King of England's power in Connaught had lapsed. No real 
settlements had been made by the English in Omany or Tirmany, 
except by David de Burgo, ancestor of MacDavid, who acquired 


Clanconway, probably from the heirs of William de Oddingeseles, 
who was owner in the beginning of the fourteenth century. 

In a few years the English power and English law were nearly 
extinguished by the murder of Sir Edmond de Burgo. The sons of 
Sir William de Burgo and their cousins, and other tenants of the 
infant Countess of Ulster, finding that the King was unable to 
punish the murder or enforce the rights of the Countess, by degrees 
disregarded those rights and the king's authority more and more, 
until they discarded English law and adopted Irish customs. So 
came to an end, in practice, the relation of lord and vassal or tenant 
between the kings of England and Connaught. But the legal rights 
were never forgotten by the kings of England. 

After the treaty of Windsor established the relation of lord and 
vassal between the King of England and the King of Connaught, 
the former had a right to insist upon observance of the treaty. The 
trouble arose because the King of Connaught undertook what he 
could not perform. The parties were not upon an equality in respect 
of observance. The King of England was at the head of a power- 
ful nation, highly organised upon a civil basis, able to enforce law 
against his subjects, and to carry out his engagements. 

The King of Connaught was acknowledged head of several kings 
of a nation but slightly organised upon a tribal basis, unable to 
enforce law against any but his immediate subjects, his relation to 
the other kings being practically limited to levying tribute when he 
was strong enough. Moreovei-, his own position was insecure and the 
succession uncei'tain. The Irish chieftains could not at a moment's 
notice give up their habits of making raids on their neighbours, or 
assisting their neighbours in their conflicts with enemies, and could 
not understand that any treaty between the King of Connaught and 
the King of England affected their ancient rights and customs, and 
drew an imaginary line between certain districts which they must 
not pass. In truth such a treaty was beyond the powers of any 
king, and no one need regard it, any more than any other submis- 
sion, unless he was compelled by force. On the other hand, by Irish 
custom every king was entitled to subdue any other king or tribe if 
he could, and if a king of Connaught, or of England, was strong 
enough to do so, he was within his rights according to immemorial 

I have here dealt only with the relations between the two kings, 
and have passed over the many quarrels and wars in which the kings 
were not considered to be involved, which were settled by the Eng- 
lish barons without the King of England's intervention. A distinc- 
tion seems to have been made between raids made by subjects on 
their own account and international raids, as we should call them, 


taken up by the kings on botli sides. The general question of right 
and wrong between the two kings ended with the treaty of Windsor. 
The subsequent wars were results of that treaty, and, as far as we can 
see, originated in breaches by the King of Connaught, or in rebellions 
and other intestine disorders in which the King of England interfered 
to support his vassal, who, according to the custom of the time and 
of the present courts of justice, had to pay the costs of being put 
in possession. 

On the whole the King of England does not seem to have oppressed 
his vassal, at first probably because that vassal was very powerful, 
and latterly, when his power fell low, because he became useful as 
some counterpoise to the immense power of the de Burgo Earls of 



The Anglo-Norman invasion occurred when the internal conditions 
favoured an attack on Leinster, Meath, and Munster. For fifty 
years the O'Briens had resisted the O'Conor supremacy with results 
disastrous to Munster, especially during the later years. Meath and 
Leinster had been so crushed by Torlogh Mor in 1143 that he set up 
his son Conor as king, who was killed by the Meathmen in the next 
year. Ruaidhri not only compelled submission to himself as chief 
king, but interfered in family feuds, dividing kingdoms and setting 
up his own partisans. Owing to these events the kingdom of Meath 
was held to comprise O'Rourk's kingdom, which therefore passed by 
Henry II. 's grant of Meath to Hugh de Lacy, though it had been 
throughout the historic period within the kingdom of Oonnaught. 

These proceedings of Torlogh and Ruaidhri, and the decay of the 
power of the royal families of Meath and Leinster, suggest that the 
foreign invasion prevented the establishment of an O'Conor as chief 
king of Meath, and a general repetition of very early events whereby 
the kings of Connaught established branches of their family in 
Leinster and in Meath. 

Connaught had enjoyed unusual freedom from invasion under the 
power of those kings, and so was the stronger in relation to the other 
provinces, but was left a prey to disorder by the great number of 
their sons and grandsons who naturally quarrelled for supremacy. 
In ordinary course the sons of those who did not become kings would 
have been allotted hereditary estates, and would have formed a 
great Siltorly alongside of the Silmurray. The process had begun. 
Ruaidhri's sons were settled in Carra, Murtough Mweenagh's and 
Maghnus's and Cathal Migaran's in Clann Cuain and Umall, Donnell 
Midheach's in Carbury, where they wei-e replaced, after fighting, by 
the Clann Andrias. Conor Moenmoy's son Cathal Carrach got a 
large assignment in Hy Many by partition with Cathal Crobhderg. 
The conquest of Connaught upset these arrangements, and di*ove 
the whole family into a small tract of Roscommon, except the clan 
of Murtough Mweenagh, who were let remain in Umall and Erris 
until their turbulence brought on expulsion in 1273, and the clan of 



Andrias, son of Bii.iii Luighnech, who remained in Carbury, and 
profited so much by submission to Fit/Geraki, and afterwards to 
de Burgo, that their head eventually became O'Conor Sligo. 

There are indications that the new lords of Connaught were ready 
to accept the Irish chiefs as their tenants so long as those chiefs 
behaved fairly well. Many remained in their original territories 
during the Norman supremacy. For 150 years the King of 
Connaught's power decKned steadily, and the minor kings and chiefs 
accepted to a certain extent their new position. The power of the 
de Burgo lord of Connaught and Eail of Ulster was irresistible when 
brought to bear, and gave those who held loyally under him a peace 
and security not known before, a material compensation for loss of 
savage independence subject to heavy and uncertain exactions of 
more powerful kings and to constant war and plundering. 

Disorder arose not from rebellion of their own vassals against the 
Norman resident lords, but from O'Conors, O'Rourks, O'Donnells, 
O'Neills, whose territories had not been occupied, who were compelled 
only to submission, and were not under control unless an army Avas 
brought against them. The lord contented himself then with setting 
up a new chief under engagements. The Annals show a tangle of 
fighting, plundering, and murdering, very seldom causes and con- 
sequences. It has been taken as a matter of course that the King of 
Connaught was victim of a series of unprovoked attacks and injuries 
by the King of England and the Norman barons. The Annals and 
the Calendar of Documents relating to Ireland, which supplement 
and help each other, show that the wrongs are not all on one side. 

The wars and fighting fall under three heads — quarrels between 
the kings of Connaught and England ; those between the kings of 
Connaught and the adjoining barons, which were not treated as wais 
against the King of England ; the raids and rebellions against 
Norman lords. Those under the second head seem to have been 
aggressions by the Irish, but where the Normans appear as in- 
vaders they were resisting and punishing raids or taking sides in a 
disputed succession. The relations between the kings of England 
and Connaught explain most of the fighting down to 1338. 

From 1228 to 1235 fighting was incessant, chiefly directed against 
O'Conors, those who opposed the man recognised by King Henry as 
King of Connaught, and those who were settled in the de Burgo part 
of Connaught. Richard de Burgo tried to bring them to terms, and 
failing to do so, drove most of them out and divided Connaught com- 
pletely among his allies only after 1235. We find no evidence of 
settlement except the building of castles of Galway and Meelick. He 
tried then to keep the O'Conors and others as feudal lords under him, 
holding the country by means of these castles and garrisons. This 


became impossible, and we know that the barons spread over Connaught 
and began to build castles in 1237. 

Felim O'Conor accepted the new position aftei- this. Those 
O'Conors who did not were driven out of the de Burgo lands. Some 
accepted it, as Clan Murtough Mweenagh, and remained in possession 
of large estates. O'Flaherty was allowed to remain on an estate in 
the barony of Clare until his rebellion in 1273, when he was driven 
out and sent to the west of Lough Corrib. O'Heyne and O'Flaherty 
were on R. de Burgo's side during these early wars, having submitted 
to him among the first. 

O'Heyne, O'Flaherty, O'Kelly, O'Malley, O'Dowda, O'Hara, O'Gara 
seem to have been treated by Richard and his great barons much as 
King Henry and his successors treated O'Conor. But as regards 
them evidence is slight. Where English lords and colonists settled 
down the local Irish chiefs disappeared. But the great chiefs named 
above were left in possession of large estates. Where no settlements 
were made these chiefs recovered their position after 1338. 


EVENTS FllOM 1170 TO 1224. 

RuAiDiiRi regarded his first submission to Henry II. as he regarded 
submission to an Irish king, and soon attacked him again. But in 
1175 he came to terms in the treaty of Windsor. 

In 1177 William FitzAudelin was Governor of Ireland. Murrough 
O'Conor came to Dublin and engaged Milo de Cogan and a force of 
40 men-at-arms, 200 horse soldiers, and 300 archers, in order to 
dethrone his father. The Annals of Innisfallen give the fullest 
account of this raid, and are generally in agreement with Gu-aldus 
Cambrensis. They went direct to Roscommon, where Murrough 
joined them. They burnt churches in Moy Ai and Clanconway, and 
marched by the Togher of Moin Coinneadha, which gives Temple- 
togher its name, to Dunmore and to Tuam, where they remained for 
three nights. 

King Ruaidhri was touring in the west of Connaught when he 
heard of the invasion. No resistance was offered to the invaders, 
and no one joined them. Rviaidhri, or his friends, abandoned Tuam 
and burnt Kilmaine and Kilbennan and Lackagh and Kilcahill and 
Roskeen and the castle of Galway. The country was laid waste 
before the invaders. This action, and the failure of Murrough to 
secure support, showed the English that the enterprise was hopeless, 
and they retreated. Meanwhile Ruaidhri had collected forces and 
had got behind them, and had a skirmish with them as they passed 
over the Tochar, and attacked them again wlien they were crossing 
the Shannon at Athleague, opposite Lanesborough. Giraldus says 
that the engagement was unintentional on both sides, and that the 
English lost only three men. This must mean that it was only a 
skirmish with the rear, for his own account shows that the Connaught- 
men waited for the English between Tuam and the river. All 
accounts agree that the Connaughtmen laid their own country waste 
and defeated the Englishmen. The expedient was effective against 
a heavily armed body without many Irish allies. It is also evident 
that such a body could not be attacked successfully by the lightly 
armed Irish forces except at a disadvantage in crossing a bog or ford. 
It is therefore probable that only three men of importance fell, as the 

EVENTS FROM 1170 TO 1224. 63 

Irish accounts substantially agree that there was no severe fighting. 
This was the first appearance of an English force in Connaught. It 
was not an attack by the English upon the kingdom, but a rebellion 
by Murrough with the help of mercenaries. 

Ruaidhri got hold of his sons. He blinded Murrough, and con- 
fined Conor in the island of Lough Hacket. In a year the O'Flaherty 
faction rescued him, and brought about a reconciliation with his 

In 1180 Aedh O'Caithniadh, lord of Erris, was treacherously slain 
by O'Callaghan at Kilcommon. Auliff O'Toghda, chief of Bredagh, 
was killed by O'Gaughan, chief of Moyheleog. Murrough O'Lachtna 
was di'owned in Lough Con. Thus we get an occasional glimpse of 
what went on when the chiefs were not engaged in war on a 
larger scale. 

In 1182 Murrough, son of Taichleach O'Dowda, was slain by 
Melaghlin O'Mulrony of Moylurg. 

In 1183 Bee O'Hara, lord of Leyny, was treacherously slain by 
Conor O'Diarmada, son of Ruaidhri O'Conor, in his own house on 
Lough MacFarry, now called Lough Talt. 

Conor Moenmoy drove his father out of Connaught in 1184, and 
made himself king. Ruaidhri retired into the Abbey of Cong in 
1186, where he remained until his death, except for a futile attempt 
to recover the sovereignty in 1189. He died there on the 29th 
November 1198, in his 82nd year. His body T^as removed to Clon- 
macnoise in 1207, probably in connection with the rebuilding of the 
great church of Cong. 

In 1187 MacDermot (Maurice, son of Teige), lord of. Moylurg, 
died in his own mansion on Claenloch, in Clann Chuain. This house 
was probably Boyd's Island, near Castlebar — formerly a crannoge, 
since drainage a peninsula — if Lough Lannagh be the Claenloch. 

When Conor Moenmoy was murdered in 1189, Cathal Crobhderg 
became king after contest with Conor's son, Cathal Carrach. The 
quarrels of these Cathals were the cause of great suffering to the 
people of Connaught during several years until the death of the 

In 1192 Taichleach O'Dowda, lord of the Hy Awley and Hy 
Fiachrach, was slain by his two grandsons. 

Gilbert and Philip de Angulo fled from Meath and wei'e outlawed 
in 1195. Gilbert joined Cathal Crobhderg in his invasion of Munster 
in 1195, and seems to have remained permanently in his service, 
having a large assignment of land in South Connaught. 

Cathal invaded Munster without provocation, perhaps in pursuit 
of Cathal MacDermot of Moylurg, whom he had driven out of 
Connaught. He went as far as Emly and Cashel, destroying castles 


ami towns. He returnetl with a large force to Athlone, where he 
made peace with John de Courcy and de Lacy. Cathal JNlacDermot 
" came again in the same year, through the strength of his hands, 
into Connacht, until he reached Caislen na Caillighe ; and he killed 
many persons on his way from the south as far as that" (L.C.). " On 
arriving at Lough Mask and Inishrobe, he seized upon all the vessels 
of Cathal Crovderg O'Conor, and brought them away to Caislen na 
Caillighe, where he proceeded to commit great ravages in all dii-ec- 
tions, until Cathal Crovderg, accompanied by a party of the English 
and of the Sil Maelruana, arrived and made peace with him, although 
he had hitherto committed great ravages " (F.M.). Castle Hag must 
have been surrendered to him by the gu;ird, or possibly he surprised 
them. Such an impregnable stronghold most likely secured him easy 
terms of peace. This is the first reference to Castle Hag in the 
Annals. It is not mentioned again until Sir II. Bingham ruined it. 
It is remarkable that the Annals should ignore the building of such a 
fortress, a great cahir with mortared walls of great height. 

In 11 9G Cathal Crovderg di-ove Iluaidhri O'Flaherty out of his 
kingdom. O'Flaherty took to the sea, and plundered Conmaicne and 
Umhall, but afterwards went to Ulster and made peace with O'Conor 
by the mediation of the Comarb of Patrick, the Archbishop of Armagh. 
Yet O'Conor seized O'Flaherty next year. Such relations between 
the powerful O'Flaherty clan and O'Conor facilitated an agreement 
between de Burgos and O'Flaherties in later wars. 

In 1199 Cathal Crovderg made an unprovoked attack on the 
English, at Athlone probably, killed many persons, and carried off 
cattle. Thus he came into collision with the English forces, whereby 
his position as King of Connaught was eventually much reduced. 
The history of these wars, ending in what the Irish justly called the 
Conquest of Connaught, shows the ruinous and inconclusive character 
of native Irish warfare. The main object was to plunder and destroy 
the country, not to follow up and annihilate the enemy's forces or to 
overawe him by occupation of his country. 

The Annals differ somewhat as to the years in which events fell, 
but agree generally as to events. The Annals of Clonmacnoise seem 
to give the best arrangement on the whole, and are here followed as 
to date and sequence. 

In 1200 Cathal Crovderg invaded Munster and burnt William de 
Burgo's castles. After a raid into West Meath, where he suffered 
loss, he collected his forces and went into Aidhne, as if to meet the 
English from Munster, but began to plunder Cathal Carrach's terri- 
tory. C. Carrach inflicted a severe defeat on a detachment sent 
against him. C. Crovderg seems to have retired without fighting 
before the English forces under William Burk and Murtough and 

EVENTS FROM 1170 TO 1224. 65 

Conor O'Brien, who made C. Carrach king. To him hostages were given 
by the chiefs of the Silmurray and the Tuaths and by MacDermot, 
O'Gara, O'Hara, and O'Dowda. C. Crobhderg went into Ulster. 

" However, Cathal Carrach and William Burk, and the two 
O'Briains, with their Foreigners and Gaeidhel, left neither church 
nor territory from Echtghe to Dun-Rossarach, and from the Sinuinn 
westwards to the sea, that they did not pillage and destroy, so that 
neither church, nor altar, nor priest, nor monk, nor canon, nor abbot, 
nor bishop afforded protection against this demoniacal host ; and they 
used to strip the priests in the churches, and carry oflE the women, and 
every kind of property and stock found in the churches, without regard 
to saint or sanctuary, or to any power on earth ; so that never before 
was there inflicted on the Connachtmen any punishment of famine, 
nakedness, and plundering like this punishment." (L.C.) 

This plundering must have been before the general submission. 
We must understand that Cathal Crovderg adopted the course usually 
taken by an Irish king in face of superior force. He retired before 
them with his adherents, and looked on while his and their country 
was being pillaged. His chief adherents got tired of this and sub- 
mitted to the conquerors, and he fled to come again if he could. We 
need not supjiose that this war was any worse than the other wars 
which the country was well used to. But it may have been more 
thorough. The invaders were largely well-armed, organised soldiers, 
able to beat down opposition, irresistible by a purely Irish army, but 
slow. Their O'Conor and O'Brien allies were used to the work of 
plundering and destruction, and could do it well under cover of the 
main body. 

The pillage and destruction of churches I believe to mean no more 
than that the surrounding houses or villages were destroyed and pillaged, 
not that the fabric of the church was purposely destroyed. Destruction 
of churches was not a Norman or English custom. There was reason 
for pkindering and burning churches if by the term we understand 
the subsidiary buildings belonging to the clergy and the villagers 
which grew up about the churches. Under 1236 (L.C.) we find that 
corn was stored in the religs or churchyards, and kept in baskets in the 
churches, and the practice is mentioned in the above extract. Thus 
burning Kilmaine and Kilbennan may mean burning the church itself, 
which is the exact meaning of the expression. But we know that 
burning a line of churches would make no difference to an invader. 
Burning the houses of the villages of that name and all the supplies 
with them would be an effective act of defensive warfare. It needs 
only the sight of the cashel of Moyne church, near Headford, to make 
clear the importance of the churches in the warfare of those days. 
It was a custom in Ireland to put corn and heavy property in chax'ge 



of the clergy when the owners betook themselves to fastnesses with 
their cattle, in the hope that the invaders would respect the clergy, 
as they evidently often did in ordinary Irish cattle raids. The Nor- 
mans made war in a more serious and thorough fashion, and had no 
idea of leaving the enemy's supplies for his use as soon as they left 
the place. At an early period an arrangement was made with the 
clergy that, if property left with them for safe keeping was taken 
from the churches, the fees due for keeping it should be paid by him 
who took it. 

In 1201 Cathal Crovderg came twice from Ulster, and twice 
suffered defeat. In this fighting Taichleach O'Dowda was killed. 
After the second defeat Cathal Crovderg procured the support of 
William de Buvgo and his Munster allies. These transactions are 
obscure. Meiler FitzHenry, the justiciary, and William de Burgo 
supported Cathal Carrach against O'Neill and O'Hegny. Cathal 
Carrach defeated Cathal Crovderg when he came a second time with 
de Courcy and de Lacy. The king arrested de Courcy and called 
him to account for his action, but the result does not appear. It is 
certain that William de Burgo now suddenly took up Cathal Crov- 
derg's cause against Cathal Carrach, and he seems to have done so 
with the king's consent, as he was called to account by the king 
only when he attacked C. Crovdei-g in 1203. It is most probable 
that this change was the result of an attack on the English by C. 
Carrach, as the only means of securing the favour and toleration of 
the Connaught chieftains. It is evident that he had hitherto relied 
on English arms for his position, that Cathal Crovderg had a very 
strong party in Connaught ; having been king for ten years, and being 
a son of Torlogh Mor, were points in his favour. Other Connaught 
kings set up by the English took the same course, notably Felim 
O'Conor in 1316. 

However this may be, Cathal Crovderg came again early in 1 202 with 
W. Burk, Murtough and Conor O'Brien, and Finghin MacCarthy. 
They went at once to Boyle and occupied the monastery, which they 
began to fortify with a stone wall. 

On the third day Cathal Carrach was killed in a skirmish with a 
party sent out to plunder MacDermot's lands, who therefore must have 
been his supporter. Tomaltach, son of Taichleach O'Dowda, was killed, 
and several other men of rank at the same time. This ended the war. 
The O'Briens and Finghin MacCai-thy went home. Cathal and 
William de Burgo made a tour to the south by Dunlo and Moenmoy 
and then by West Connaught, i.e. along the country of O'Flaherty 
east of the Lough as far as Cong, where they stayed to spend 

" The resolution that Cathal Crobhdei^g and William Burk adopted, 

EVENTS FROM 1170 TO 1224. &7 

moreover, was to despatch their mercenaries throughout Connacht, 
to levy their wages ; and William Burk, together with all who were 
with him, and Cathal Crobhderg, went to Cunga-Feichin. After this a 
miraculous event happened, and it is not known whether it occurred 
through a man or through the spirit of God in the shape of a man — 
viz. it was reported that William Burk had been killed ; and there 
was not a road in Connacht by which this report did not come. The 
resolution adopted by the tribes on hearing this news was as if they 
had taken counsel together — viz. each man to kill his guest. And 
thus it was done — viz. each tribe killed all that came to them ; and 
the loss, according to the report of their own people, was nine 
hundred, vel amplius. When William Burk heard that his people 
had been slain, he plotted against O'Conchobhair ; but timely notice 
reached O'Conchobhair, and he left the place where William was ; 
and William went to Mumha, after losing the majority of his people." 
(L.C., 1202.) 

Torlogh, son of King Ruaidhri, was seized by his own brother 
Diarmaid, and by Diarmaid, son of Ruaidhri, son of his vmcle 
Maghnus, and by O'Dowda and O'Hara, on behalf of Cathal Crov- 
derg. This arrest must be a consequence of the breach between 
Cathal and William Burk. Torlogh was a man who might be set 
up as a rival king. 

The slaughter of his men must have been the cause of William's 
turning against Cathal. The proceedings of these years justly 
earned for William his Irish title of William Conquer. 

William Bui-k began the campaign of 1203 by plundering Clonfert 
about the 1st February in company with Conor Moenmoy's sons. 
Thence they moved to Meelick and made a fortification round the 
church, in which a garrison was left. He then marched northwards 
by Knockmoy, plundering all places until he reached Mayo, where 
he killed the two sons of Aedh Dall O'Conor, and settled for a time 
at Cong. Of this time it is said: " Tuaim-dha-ghualann was 
emptied, and Cunga Feichin was rased, so that it icas without a 
house or church, and the churches of nearly all Connaught were 
emptied " (L.C.). 

King Cathal was evidently powerless to resist. But Meiler Fitz- 
Henry, the justiciary, and Walter de Lacy brought an army into 
Munster against William, who returned to the south and submitted 
himself to the king's orders, giving up all his castles to the 
justiciary. In July 1203 the king ordered William to answer all 
complaints brought against him by the justiciary. In October 
William had appeared before the king. In March 1204 commis- 
sioners were appointed to inquire into the complaints made by the 
justiciary and others against William, and by William against the 


justiciary. He took William into Normaiuly with liim, and ordered 
restoration to William of all his castles and lands, save those in 
Connaught. In September an order is made retaining the land of 
Connaught in the king's hand on account of these disputes, which 
are not further mentioned in the record. He seems to have justified 
his actions before the king, as he returned to Ireland in 1'204, and 
died in 1205. But this was pi-obably in January, February, or March 
of 1205 according to the ofiicial year, 1206 according to the usual 
computation of the year from the 1st January. He closed a chapter 
in the history of Connaught and of Ireland, by putting an end to the 
independence of the kings of Connaught. 

It is not known when this great man came to Ireland, but it must 
have been not later than 1190. He married a daughter of Donnell 
Mor O'Brien, King of Thomond, and of Munster until the Invasion, 
by whom he left three sons. He had large gi-ants in the counties 
of Limerick and Tipperary, and seems to have settled down on his 
lands and kept out of the wars until Cathal Crovderg's attack forced 
him to take up arms for his own defence. Though his lands were 
within the kingdom of Thomond, they had not been directly occupied 
by the O'Briens, and it was therefore easy for him to cultivate 
friendly relations with that family, which were maintained by his 
descendants. This alliance was an important factor in the conquest 
of Connaught by giving him and his son Richard the help of the 
O'Briens. Another daughter of O'Brien named Mor was married 
to Cathal Crovderg, and another to Donnell Mor O'Kelly. 

He certainly had a grant of some parts of Connaught, but I 
cannot ascertain what it was, except that the grant related to parts 
of the counties of Mayo and Galway, in which he gave grants to two 
Petits and others. But none of these grants were effective. 

The writer of the Annals of Clonmacnoise was very abusive of 
him, but the translator suppressed most of the abuse. As far as the 
Irish Annals deal with his actions, they show only what would have 
made him " the Glory of the Gael " if he had been an Irish provincial 

He was buried in the Abbey of Athassel, now better known as 
Golden Abbey, near Cashel, which he had founded. A tombstone 
effigy, supposed to be from his tomb, is set up in a chapel of the old 
church of Ballynakill, near Glinsk, but it is probably that of a later 
William Burke. ^ 

During the remainder of the reign of Cathal Crovderg the country 

enjoyed an unusual amount of peace, and therefore the annalists 

tell but little. At this time the power of the O'Conors was very 

much based on the country from Tirawley southwards to Tuara, 

^ Journal of Gahvay Arch, and Hi&t. Society, ii. p. 107. 

EVENTS FROM 1170 TO 1224. 69 

in which Murtough Mweenagh and his family, the son of Maghnus, 
the sons of Ruaidhi-i, and some other descendants of Torlogh Mor, 
were settled. But the mainstay of the family was still the great 
Silmurray tribe. They themselves were always quarrelling over 
the sovereignty. In these new settlements they were by their 
presence putting the old local chiefs a step lower in rank, and so 
making it easier for the new Anglo-Norman lords to take the place 
of the O'Conors later on. For the first effect of Anglo-Norman 
settlement was to relieve the people from incessant pkmdering by 
strangers, and to enable those minor lords who accepted the new 
conditions to enjoy their own in peace, free from irregular exactions. 

In 1207 Aedh O'Goirmghiallaigh, lord of Partry, was slain by the 
men of Carra. 

In 1208 Donnsleibhe O'Gara, King of Sliabh Lugha, Murtough 
Mweenagh, who was now Tanist of Connavight, and others helped 
King Cathal to remove Cathal O'Mulrony from the chieftainship 
of IMoylurg, and to set up the son of Tomaltach MacDermot. 

Auliffe O'Rothlain, chief of the Calry of Coolcarney, was slain 
by O'Moran, who lived at Ardnarea, whose land extended thence 
to Toomore. 

In 1210 King Cathal broke with King John. The consequence was 
that the justiciary built a bridge and a castle at Athlone, and an 
invasion of Connaught by Geoffrey de Marisco and an army from 
Munster, accompanied by Aedh, son of Ruaidhri O'Conor, and 
O'Flaherty's son, and Donough Cairbreach O'Brien. They came 
by Tuam to Lough Narney, where they halted for fourteen to 
twenty days. Cathal Ci'ovderg did not fight, but came to terms 
and went with them to Athlone, where he made peace with the 
justiciary by giving as hostages his son Torlogh and the son of 
another noble. The four hostages which were in the king's hands 
were then released, one being Conor O'Hara. 

1213. " Donnchadh O'Dubhda sailed with a fleet of fifty-six ships 
from the Insi Gall, and landed on Inis Raithin, one of the Insi 
Modh, in Umhall, and wrested his own land free of tribute from 
Cathal Croibhdhearg O'Conor" (H.F., p. 303). This must mean 
that, owing to the reduced power of the O'Conors, O'Dowda freed 
himself from the heavy tribute due according to the O'Mulconry 

1217. Cathal Finn O'Lachtna, chief of the Two Bacs, was treacher- 
ously slain in his house by O'Flynn of Moyheleog. 

1220. "Dubhdara, son of Muiredhach O'Maille, was killed in a 
dispute by Cathal Crobhderg, in his own camp, in violation of all 
Connacht ; and this was a grievous act, although it was his own 
misdeeds that recoiled on him" (L.C.). 


The next event shows that a conspiracy was formed against King 
Cathal, brought on possibly by his having associated his son Aedh 
with him in the sovereignty, and by the king's having recognised 
Aedh's right of succession, which is apparent from the State Papers 
and the Annals. Though the fact appears later, we may suppose 
that Cathal's intentions became apparent earlier. This succession 
was in derogation of the right of the O'Conors to choose a qualified 
heir among themselves ; and it was necessary to act as Cathal was 
old. I cannot ascertain who the Mulrony O'Dowda is. 

1221. " Diarmaid, son of Ruaidhri, son of Toirdhelbhach Mor 
O'Conchobhair, was slain by Thomas MacUchtraigh as he was 
coming from Insi-Gall, whilst collecting a fleet for the purpose 
of acqviiring the sovereignty of Connacht ; . . . Maelruanaidh 
O'Dubhda, King of Ui-Amhalghaidh, was drowned while assembling 
the same fleet. 

" Diarmaid O'Culechain, a professor of history and writing, died 
in this year, i.e. a man who had more writings and knowledge than 
any one that came in his own time ; and it was he that wrote the 
Massbook of Cnoc, and another Massbook the equal of it for 
Diarmaid MacOirechtaigh, his tutor, and for Gillapatraic, his foster- 
brother — the comarbs of Achadh-Fabhair in succession." (L.C.) 

1224. " Maelisu, son of the bishop O'Maelfhaghmhair, parson of 
Ui Fiachrach and Ui-Amhalghaidh, and materies of a bishop, was 
killed by the son of Donnchadh O'Dubhda, after enjoying his food 
and his fire in his own [O'Diibhda's] house" (L.C). "A deed 
strange in him, for none of the O'Dowdas had ever before killed an 
ecclesiastic." (F.M.) 

" Cathal Crobhderg O'Conchobhair, King of Connacht, and king 
of the Gaeidhel of Erinn according to merit, died in the monastery 
of Cnoc-Muaidhe on the 5th of the kalends of June ; the best 
Gaeidhel for nobility and honour that came from the time of Brian 
Borumha down ; the battle-prosperous, puissant upholder of the 
people ; the rich, excellent maintainer of peace ; (for it was in his 
time that tithes were first received in the land of Erinn) ; the meek, 
devout pillar of faith and Christianity ; corrector of the culprits and 
transgressors ; the destroyer of robbers and evil-doers ; the general 
battle-victorious defender of the royal law, to whom God gave good 
honour on earth, and the heavenly kingdom beyond, after dying in 
the habit of a monk, after triumphing over the world and the devil. 
Aedh O'Conchobhair, his own son, assumed the government of 
Connacht, with his luck and happiness, after him ; for he was a 
king in dignity near his father previously, and the hostages of 
Connacht were at his command ; and it was God who granted the 
sovereignty to him thus, for no crime was committed in Connacht 

EVENTS FROM 1170 TO 1224. 71 

through the speedy assumption of sovereignty by him, but one act 
of phmder on the road to Cruach, and his hands and feet were 
cut off the person who committed it ; and one woman was 
violated by the son of O'Mannachain, who was blinded for his 
offence." (L.O.) 

This panegyric may advantageously be compared with the known 
facts of his career. It is evident that the record omits very much 
which would prove the truth of the panegyric. 

He founded the Abbey of Ballintubber, begvin about 1216. It is 
not improbable that it was built in reparation for an attack upon the 
Archbishop of Tuam, recorded in the following discreet words which 
neither affirm nor deny his complicity : " The Ai"chbishop O'Ruanadha 
was cruelly and violently taken prisoner by the Connachtmen and 
Maelisa O'Conchobhair, and put in chains ; a thing we never heard of 
before, viz., an archbishop being manacled " (L.C.). I find no Maelisa 
among the O'Conors, except the Prior of Inishmaine who died in 
1223, nor any incident to account for the affair. 



IN 1237. 

Aedh's accession soon led to war. The part wliicb Aedh had taken 
in 1224 against Aedh O'Neill and the de Lacys would dispose O'Neill 
to join Aedh's opponents, though O'Neill was careful to avoid collision 
with the English. The events are recorded thus : — 

1225. " A commotion of war was raised in this year by Toirdhel- 
bhach, son of Ruaidhri, king [of Connacht], and by Aedh O'Neill, to 
contest the province of Connacht with Aedh, son of Cathal Crobhderg, 
through the solicitation of Donn Og Mac Oirechtaigh, king-chieftain 
of Sil-Muiredhaigh, in retaliation for having been deprived of land 
and patrimony; and when he rebelled the Connachtmen rebelled, 
viz. the Sil-Muiredhaigh, and the men of the West of Connacht, with 
Aedh O'Flaithbhertaigh, king of the West of Connacht. However, 
Aedh O'Neill came with them to the middle of Sil-Muiredhaigh ; and 
they made Toirdhelbhach, son of Ruaidhri, king ; and Aedh O'Neill 
went home, because the sons of Ruaidhri preferred their own assem- 
blies, which had been summoned by them respectively, with the ex- 
ception of Cormac, son of Tomaltach MacDiarmada of the Rock, and 
David O'Floinn, and other men of trust." (L.C.) An entry regarding 
this event erroneously put in the preceding year says that Aedh 
O'Neill went home after inaugurating Torlogh, because an army of 
Foreigners was coming to support Aedh's cause. 

" As regards Aedh, son of Cathal Crobhderg, moreover ; he re- 
paired to the Foreigners, and it happened fortunately for him, as the 
Foreigners of Erinn were then at Ath-Luain, holding a court, and 
every one of them was a friend of his, for his father's sake and his 
own ; for he and his father before him were very liberal of wages to 
them. He brought with him the Justiciary, and as many of the 
Foreigners of Erinn as he thought sufficient ; and Donchadh Cair- 
brech O'Briain, with his army, and O'Maelechlainn, with his army, 
went also with him. The people of Magh-hAei and the Tuatha fled 
then into Luighne and Tir-Amhalghaidh, with their cows; and the 
sons of Ruaidhri were left without an army, without a tribe assem- 


blage, there being in theii^ company only a few royal heirs, and 
chieftains, and horseboys, and attendants. The sons of Ruaidhri 
proceeded to Cill-Cellaigh,^ accompanied only by a small band and 
a few royal heirs, to protect their cows and people. Aedh, son of 
Cathal Crobhderg, with his Foreigners, advanced towards Toirdhel- 
bhach, son of Ruaidhri, where he was with his chieftains, and there 
were hardly any others than horseboys and a rabble along with him, 
for Aedh, son of Ruaidhri, and the son of Muirchertach, and Domh- 
nall O'Flaithbhertaigh, and Tighernan, son of Cathal, and the sons 
of Toirdhelbhach, son of Ruaidhri, went to protect the cows and 
people of Ferghal O'Taidhg, who had pledged a mutual oath with 
them. And it so happened that he was the first Connachtman who 
violated his mutual oath with the sons of Ruaidhri ; and he brought 
the son of Cathal, with his Foreigners, to protect his cows and people, 
in opposition to them. It was then that the Foreigners encountered 
Toirdhelbhach, son of Ruaidhri. He and his chieftains arose, and 
they placed their rabble before them, and retreated excellently with- 
out any of their men being slain ; for Donn Og Mac Airechtaigh, and 
Flaithbhertach O'Flannagain, and a small number of the Eoghanach 2 
band, followed them. In that day a scouting party encountered 
Echmarcach Mac Branain, who was with a small force in the middle 
of an oak wood, amongst his pigs and his cows ; and he performed 
great valour when they were killing him, but a superior number of 
brave men overtook him. Then Aedh, son of Cathal Crobhderg, 
with his Foreigners, followed the sons of Ruaidhri that night to Milic ; 
and he remained there three nights, plundering Luighne on every 
side. This thing was unfortunate for O'hEghra, who had to make 
peace, after being plundered, for the sake of- the little that had been 
left in Luighne. The sons of Ruaidhri were at this time in front of 
Loch-mic-Oiredhaigh^ in Glenn-na-Mochart.* The resolution adopted 
by the son of Cathal Crobhderg was to go along with the Foreigners 
after the cows of the Taatha, and of Sil-Muiredhaigh, and of Clann- 
Tomaltaigh, by a route that no Foreigner ever took before, viz. into 
Fidh-Gadhlaigh, until they reached Ath-tighe-in-Mesaigh ; ^ and they 
received neither arrow nor dart in that route. They plundered Cul- 
Cernadha, and inflicted vengeance on cows and people there. Of all 
those that went into the Bac, all who were not drowned were plun- 
dered and killed. Pity alas ! every one who went towards Dubh- 
Cunga ^ was drowned ; and so the fishing weirs were found with their 
baskets full of children, after being drowned in them. Of all the 
droves of Clann-Tomaltaigh that had escaped from thfe Foreigners, 

1 Kilkelly. ^ Probably some of O'Neill's men. 

* LoughTalt. * Glanna Voagh. 

* Attymas. * Probably the weir below Ballycong Lake. 


aud that had not been drowned, a number went into Tir-Amhalghaidh ; 
and O'Dubhda attacked them, and left not a single cow with them. 

" As regards the sons of Ruaidhri, moreover ; the resolution they 
adopted at Loch-mic-Airedhaigh ^ was, to disperse until his Foreigners 
should separate from the son of Cathal Crobhderg, viz. the two sons 
of Ruaidhri — Toirdhelbhach and Aedh — and the son of Maghnus, and 
Donn Og, were to go to meet O'Flaithbhertaigh, their mutual ally ; 
and the sons of Muirchertach O'Conchobhair, and Tighernan, son of 
Cathal,- to go to protect their cows and people, and to make peace for 
their sake, until his Foreigners should depart from the son of Cathal 

" As regards the southern half of Connacht, also, it was not more 
quiet, for the Foreigners of Laighen, and Donnchadh (or Muirchertach) 
O'Briain, came against them. The Foreigners of Des-Mumha and the 
sheriff of Corcach came also against them. They plundered and killed 
every one whom they caught. Aedh, son of Cathal Crobhderg, dis- 
liked their coming into the district, for it was not he who invited 
them ; but when they heard of all the spoils the Justiciary with his 
Foreigners had obtained, envy and jealousy seized them. Grievous, 
indeed, was the misfortvine God permitted to fall on the best province 
in Erinn, east or west, south or north ; for the young man would not 
spare his companion, in preying or in plundering, provided that he 
was the stronger. Women and children, and young lords, and the 
mighty and the weak, were exposed to cold and famine through this 
war. As to Aedh, son of Cathal Crobhderg, however ; he advanced to 
Magh-nEo, and the sons of Muirchertach went into his house, under con- 
ditions and guarantees, for the sake of their cows and people. He went 
on the morrow to Cill-Medhoin, and the three armies of Foreigners met 
there ; and the entire cantred was nearly filled with these three armies 
of Foreigners and Gaeidhel. It was then that Aedh O'Flaithbhertaigh 
came, on the covenants and guarantees of the nobles of the Foreigners, 
and of Donnchadh Cairbrech O'Briain, his gossip, into the house of 
the son of Cathal Crobhderg and the Justiciary, made peace with him 
for the sake of his cows and people, and engaged to banish the sons 
of Ruaidhri from him. The son of Cathal Crobhderg went with his 
Foreigners to Tuaim-da-ghualann, and permitted the Foreigners of 
Laighen and Des-Mumha to depart from him ; and it was his own 
duty to escort the Justiciary across Ath-Luain. He adopted another 
resolution then, viz. to turn back towards O'Flaithbhertaigh ; for he 
liked not the way in Avhich he left him, as the sons of Ruaidhri were 
at the west side of the lake with him, and his own son-in-law, i.e. 
Donn Og, along with them. Then the sons of Maghnus separated 

1 Lough Talt. - Cathal Migaran, son of Torlogh Mor O'Conor. 


from the sons of Ruaidhri, and went into Tix'-Amhalghaidh in quest 
of their cows and people, and found them there, happily, without 
being plundered or molested ; and they carried them with them under 
the protection of O'Ruairc ; ^ and they committed a great depredation 
on Philip Mac Goisdelbh. Donnchadh Cairbrech, moreover, sent the 
nobles of his people, and his men of trust, on before him with great 
spoils. Aedh, son of Ruaidhri, and Eoghan O'hEidhin intercepted 
them with a small band ; and the ]\Iomonians awaited not the attack 
of the son of the chief king ; but he went after them and captured 
the men of trvist of Donnchadh Cairbrech ; and heavy were the spoils 
left with Aedh, son of Ruaidhri. Then Donnchadh Cairbrech went 
home, and made peace and ' drowning of candles ' with Aedh, son of 
Ruaidhri ; and he promised that he would not again go against the son 
of Ruaidhri, in return for the release of his men of trust ; but he kept 
not this, for he came immediately on the next hosting against the son 
of Ruaidhri. It was then, moreover, that the son of Cathal Crobhderg 
and the Justiciary came to the port of Inisci-emha,- after the Foreigners 
of Laighen and Mumha had departed ; and O'Flaithbhei^taigh was 
obliged to give Iniscremha, and Oilen-na-circe,^ and also the boats 
of the lake, for the sake of his cows and people. Aedh, son of Cathal 
Crobhderg, went again to Tuaim-da-ghualann, and proceeded on to 
escort the Justiciary ; and a few of the chiefs of the Foreigner's, and 
many mercenaries, were left with him, for he liked not the Connaught- 
men, with the exception of a few of them. He then delivered the 
nobles of the community into the hands of the Foreigners, as a pledge 
for wages, viz. Flaithbhertach O'Flannagain, and Ferghal O'Taidhg 
and many more of the Connachtmen, who were obliged to release 
themselves. It was then that O'Flaithbhertaigh and the sons of 
Muirchertach, and the other royal heirs, went again to the son of 
Ruaidhri, after the Foreigners had departed from Aedh, son of Cathal 
Crobhderg ; and Aedh despatched messengers and writings to the 
Foreigners, announcing the revolt, and requesting additional forces. 
He was cheerfully responded to ; for these expeditions were profitable 
to the Foreigners, who used to obtain spoils, and used not to encounter 
danger or conflict. The Foreigners of Laighen and Des-Mumha were 
furnished to him on this occasion in great force, under William Cras 
and the sons of Gritiin ; and when they came towards the son of 
Cathal Crobhderg, he came from the east across Tochar,^ and pro- 
ceeded on southwards to where he heard the sons of Ruaidhri were 
(viz. in Ui Diarmada), without an army, without allies having arrived 

' The Clann Maghnus thus left Mayo and settled in Kilronan, alias Tir 

2 Illauncarbry, near Cargin Castle. ^ Now called Castlekirke. 

* Near Templetogher in barony of Ballymoe. 


to them. Then Aedh, son of Cathal Crobhderg, sent his brother 
Felim and the chiefs of his people, with Foreign mercenaries, to plunder 
Eoghan O'hEidhin in Ui-Fiachrach-Aidhne ; and they were in a 
house-camp at Ard-rathain, with a view to committing the depredation 
early on the morrow. O'Flaithbhertaigh and the sons of Muircher- 
tach, as they were marching to tlie sons of Ruaidhri, heard of the 
Foreigners having gone on a plundering expedition to Eoghan 
O'hEidhin, and of their being at Ard-rathain. The resolution they 
adopted was to march towards Ard-rathain, and to attack the 
Foreigners early next morning, and to burn the town against them. 
They marched until morning, and were early on the green of the 
town, when they determined to send first to the town Tuathal, son of 
Muirchertach, and their Foreigners, and whomsoever of the Gaeidhel 
would desire to go with him — O'Flaithbhertaigh and the other sons of 
Muirchertach remaining outside the town. Bravely, indeed, was the 
town then entered. The Gaeidhel who offered to go with Tuathal was 
Taichlech, son of Aedh O'Dubhda. And when they went boldly into 
the town the Foreigners fled eastwards and westwards out of the town ; 
and the Foreigners were driven in rout eastwards. The Foreigners 
who fled westwards out of the town inflicted a defeat on those of the 
Gaeidhel who were in the rear of the town. There were no Gaeidhel 
more vigorous than the company on which this defeat westwards was 
inflicted, but God did not grant that good fortune should attend them. 
Tuathal and Taichlech O'Dubhda pursued the party that went east- 
wards ; and Tuathal first wounded the constable of the Foreigners, who 
fell by Taichlech. It was very fortunate for the sons of Ruaidhri 
that they were not in this defeat. It was in this defeat westwards 
that Mathgamhain, son of Aedh, son of Conchobhar Maenmhaighe, 
and the son of Gillachrist Mac Diarmada, and the grandson of 
Amhlaibh Mac Airechtaigh, and Niall, son of Ferghal O'Taidhg, 
were slain ; and the person who slew him was killed, viz. the 
brother of Culen O'Dimusaigh. 

" As regards the sons of Ruaidhri : they met on the mori^ow with 
O'Flaithbhertaigh, and with the sons of Muirchertach, and with 
Tighernan, son of Conchobhar, and with Donn Og ; and they pro- 
ceeded from the south to Druim-Cenannain, It was then Aedh, son 
of Cathal Crobhderg, with his Foreigners, went in pursuit of them. 
The resolution they adopted was — each of them to go towards his 
cows and his people, and to abandon the sons of Ruaidhri. The 
sons of Ruaidhri went out of the district, as they had no forces or 
Foreigners in readiness, and Donn went again under the protection 
of Aedh O'Neill ; and there resulted nothing to them from this host- 
ing but that the best territory in Erinn was injured and destroyed 
through them. Regarding Aedh, son of Cathal Crobhderg, however ; he 


went to O'Flaithbhertaigh, and brought pledges and hostages from 
him on this occasion. He proceeded downwards to Cill-Medhoin, and 
to Magh-Eo, in pursuit of the sons of Muirchertach, and of Tighernan ; 
and they made peace for the sake of their cows and people, and went 
into the house of Aedh, son of Cathal Crobhderg, under the guarantee 
of Donnchadh Cairbrech and the chiefs of the Foreigners. This was 
a necessary tranquillity, for there was not a church or territory in 
Connacht on that day without being destroyed. 

" After plunderings, and after killing the cows and people of the 
country and exposing every one to cold and famine, a great plague 
prevailed in the whole district, viz. a species of fever, by which the 
towns used to be emptied, withovit a living man being left in them." 

The following entries are under the year 1226, and seem to relate 
to the period when Aedh was left to maintain his own authority : — 

" Tighernan, son of Conchobhar, son of Cathal Migaran O'Concho- 
bhair, the loyal heir of greatest honour and bravery that came of the 
sons of Conchobhar, and who performed the most renowned, successful 
exploits, was killed by Donnchadh O'Dubhda and his sons. 

" Ferghal O'Taidhg, dux of the household of Cathal Crobhderg, and 
of that of his son after him — a man of great prosperity, and by whom 
his enemies fell in greatest numbers — was slain by Donnsleibhe 
O'Gadhra." (L.C.) 

Under the year 1225 Tighernan, son of Cathal O'Conchobhair, is 
noted as killed by Donnchadh O'Dubhda. The family of Cathal 
Migaran seems to have been settled in Mayo. It is, I think, possible 
that these entries relate to the same man, the son of Cathal Migaran. 

Aedh and Torlogh had such equal support in Connaught that out- 
side help on either side turned the scale. Aedh's foreign allies were 
the English, against whom Torlogh's supporters would not fight. 
Hence the futility of these rebellions by men who would neither fight 
nor submit honestly. Clan Murtough had a small body of foreigners 
in their service. 

Aedh was now established, but events took an unfortunate turn for 
him. It is most probable that the Connaughtmen were much pleased 
by a prospect of attacking the king's forces on behalf of William 
Marshall, and would not let Aedh submit as William did. The 
English record tells us that a meeting with Aedh was arranged at 
Athlone, which must have been in September 1226, or in August. 
The Annals record what occurred. 

The meeting-place was by the side of a marsh, a Lahagh a little to 
the west of Athlone. Aedh crossed the marsh with Cormac JNIac- 
Dermot, Dermot, son of Manus O'Conor, Manus, son of Murtough 
O'Conor, Tadhg O'Ceirin, and Ruaidhri O'Maelbhrenainn. William 


de Marisco, a sson of the justiciary, came with eight horsemen. Before 
they dismounted Aedh advanced and seized William de Marisco. 
Aedh took William, Master Sleimhne, and Hugo Arden prisoners, 
and killed the constable of Athlone. Aedh and his forces then 
plundered the market and burnt the town. " And this was a 
felicitous act for all the Connachtmen, for they obtained their sons 
and daughters, and the hostages of Connacht, and peace for the 
Connachtmen afterwards" (L.C.). His prisoners must have been 
exchanged for the hostages, as he did not take the castle. The peace 
they got by this act was not worth much, and the expression may 
mean only that they went away without pui-suit or immediate 

" Donnsleibhe O'Gadhra, King of Sliabh-Lugha, was killed by the 
Gillaruadh, his own brother's son and he was killed therefor through 
the device of the son of Cathal Crobhderg " (L.C.). 

The Annals of Clonmacnoise date the Athlone affair correctly in 
1226, but those of Loch Ce place it under the year 1227. The 
justiciary did not deal with Connaught until the following year, 1227, 
when Connaught was invaded in force. King Aedh fled to Tirconnell. 
Geoffrey de Marisco, accompanied by Torlogh, son of Ruaidhri, came 
by Athlone into Magh Ai, where he took the hostages of the Sil- 
murray, and, accompanied by Brian, son of Ruaidhri, advanced to 
Sligo, and sent a detachment of Meath forces, accompanied by Tor- 
logh, against O'Flaherty, which afterwards went into Carra and took 
hostages from Clan Murtough, and a number of cows from each cantred. 
The southern army under Richard de Burgo, accompanied by Aedh, 
son of Ruaidhri, marched to Inishmaine, plundering and taking 
hostages. Thus all Connaught was brought to submission without 
fighting. Geoffrey de Marisco left the country in some way in charge 
of the sons of Ruaidhri. This to be inferred. Nothing is stated 

After his departure King Aedh came back. As he came to the 
river Boyle he was surprised by Ruaidhri's sons, who took his wife 
pi'isoner, whom they handed over to the English at Athlone. Aedh 
and his two sons and his brother Felim esc;iped. No more fighting or 
dissension is recorded at this time. The sons of Ruaidhri and Clann 
Murtough and the other O'Conors of the Co. Mayo seem to have 
had a superiority in Connaught when left alone. The English armies 
had secured that point. Their object seems to have been to reduce 
Aedh to obedience, and this object was now effected. In some way 
or other Aedh came to terms. He is next heard of as visiting the 
justiciary in the castle of Athlone, where an Englishman murdered 
him in a fit of jealousy in the year 1228. 

Aedh, son of Cathal, may have come to terms by accepting the 


King's Five Cantreds with the title of King of Connaught. The sons 
of Ruaidhri and the other O'Conor allies who were settled in Mayo, 
and all the other lords of Connaught, would be freed from his 
supremacy, holding from the King of England. Aedh was not in a 
position to hold out for better terms when he retui-ned in 1227, and 
such an arrangement would make for peace in Connaught, which 
seems to have ensued for a time. 

However this may be, Aedh was recognised as King of Connaught, 
and was killed in 1228. At this period occurred the real and effective 
partition of Connaught by the grant of two thirds to Richard de 
Burgo. At the same time Aedh, son of Ruaidhri, was made king 
over the Five Cantreds. This appears also from the entry of 1230 
(L.C.) that Aedh and the other Connaughtmen turned against Richai'd 
de Burgo and the foreigners. 

In this year, therefore, must be dated with certainty the separation 
of the territories of the county of Mayo from the ancient kingdom of 
Connaught. The grant is dated the 21st May 1228. 

Aedh was set up in preference to his elder brother Torlogh. The 
preference may have been due to a desire to break the continuity of 
the old kingdom of Connaught, to show that Aedh had no title or 
right but what was derived from the grant of the King of England, 
Torlogh had been inaugurated in 1225, and might have represented 
himself, and have been regarded by the Irish, as king by virtue of 
that inauguration. Hence internal war first, necessity for fresh 
English intervention, and his own rebellion afterwards. 

" A great war broke out in Connaught between the two sons of 
Roderic O'Conor, Hugh and Turlough, . . . for the younger son did 
not yield obedience to the elder ; and they destroyed Connaught 
between them, and desolated the region extending from Easdara south- 
wards to the river of Hy Fiachrach,^ excepting only a small portion of 
Sliabh Lugha, and the territory of the people of Airtech." (F.M.) 

In 1229 Felim, son of Cathal Crobhderg, defeated King Aedh and 
plundered Randown. Richard de Bui-go, who had been made jus- 
ticiary in 1228, brought an army to Castlereagh and restored Aedh, 
who in the following year turned against his supporters. 

Kings of Connaught were now put up and down in quick succession 
until 1237. The events are thus summarised. In 1230 Aedh turned 
on the English, who came in force and setup Felim. In 1231 Richard 
de Burgo arrested Felim at Meelick. In September 1232 the king 
ordered release of Felim on bail to answer the charges against him, 
and appointed Maurice FitzGerald to supersede Richard de Burgo as 
justiciary. Felim, being released, attacked and killed Aedh. Richard 

1 The Robe. 


de Burgo recovered the king's favour by tlie assistance he gave in 
Eichard Marshall's rebellion. In 1235 llichard and the justiciary 
drove Felim out, and again in 1236, setting up Brian, son of Torlogh. 
In 1237 Felim accepted the position, was given the King's Five 
Cantreds, and remained at peace. These events gave rise to much 
warfare in Mayo, because so many of the O'Conors had estates there. 
Richard de Burgo did not at first try to make settlements on a large 
scale. If the Irish lords had been content to accept his lordship and 
to pay such rents and tributes as they may have agreed to pay, he 
would have been content to leave them as they were. We may infer 
this from the Annals and State Papers taken together. One of the 
first settlers in Connaught outside of Meelick was Richard's younger 
brother William, who at this time occupied Corcamoe or some territory 
near Donamon, which was given to Adam Staunton in 1229 by 
the king. 

The Annals are our authority for local events at this time. 

In 1230 King Aedh, at the instigation of Donn Og Mageraghty 
and Cormac MacDermot, turned against Richard Burk and the 
foreigners. Aedh himself and the O'Flahertys plundered William 
Burk and Adam Duff, while Donn Og and Maghnus O'Conor's sons 
and the Silmurray plundered Tir Maine and Mac Goisdelbh's lands. 
The party under Aedh shovild be the Mayo men and their O'Flaherty 

1230. "The son of William, however, assembled the greater part 
of the Foreigners of Erinn, and many Gaeidhel, and came into 
Connacht, accompanied by Felim, son of Cathal Crobhderg, to give 
him the sovereignty of Connacht, and to expel Aedh, son of Ruaidhri, 
and every Connachtman who had turned against him. They pro- 
ceeded at first to the castle of Bun-Gaillmhe, to Aedh O'Flaithbher- 
taigh. Then Aedh, son of Ruaidhri, went to assist O'Flaithbhertaigh ; 
the Connachtmen accompanying him, vinder the sons of Muirchertach 
O'Conchobhair ; and the Connachtmen were on the west side of 
Gaillimh, and the Foreigners on the east side ; and great conflicts 
occurred between them every day. The Foreigners were in this wise, 
and they obtained neither peace, nor pledge, nor hostage from the 
Connachtmen. The resolution the Foreigners adopted was to go after 
the cows and the people that had fled to the hills and fastnesses of 
the country, and into the islands of the sea ; and they went that 
night from the castle of Bun-Gaillmhe to Droiched-inghine-Goillin,^ 
where it was morning with them. Then the son of William asked, 
* Is there a passage between us and the lake, by which some of the 
Connachtmen could come down ? ' The guides answered him : 

^ Probably a bridge near Headford, perhaps at Moyne, as now. 


' There is,' said they. He disposed a party of horse to the west 
towards Cunga, and towards Cill- (or Inis-)'Medhoin. It happened 
then that a countless number of Connachtmen were coming from 
Cunga early on the morrow, having been unwisely, and unwarily, 
transported across the lake^ the night before, in parties of two and 
three ; and a few good men were slain together with the men of 
trust of Muirchertach, son of Maghnus O'Conchobhair ; viz. Diarmaid 
O'hEidhnechan, and Lochlann Maclesain, and Tadhg, son of Gilla- 
christ O'Maelbhrenainn. As regards the Foreigners : they went after 
this success to Magh-Eo of the Saxons. They proceeded on the 
morrow to Tobur-Patraic, where the canons and devout people of the 
place came to the son of William, and requested the son of William, 
for charity, not to remain with them that night. This request was 
granted to them ; and the Foreigners proceeded down to Muine- 
Maicin. The Foreigners were loth, indeed, to go from Magh-Eo 
thither ; but they had not obtained either hostages or pledges 
from Maghnus, son of Muirchertach Mviimhnech. As they had not 
obtained hostages, they went on the morrow to Achadh-Fabhair, 
and encamped in the town, to the west of the church, viz. at 
Mai'genana, on the brink of Loch Crlchan. Maghnus, son of Muir- 
chertach, went into their house and gave them pledges. As to the 
Foreigners, moreover ; they came again on the morrow to Muine- 
Maicin, and remained a night there. They proceeded the next day 
to Magh-Sine,- and from thence, by marches, through Luighne, to 
Ceis-Corann. They went from thence into the Corrsliabh, and the 
guides abandoned the usual path ; and they crossed the entire 
mountain without being met. With reference to Aedh, son of 
Ruaidhri, and to Tomaltach of the Rock, son of Conchobhar Mac 
Diarmada, and Donn Og Mac Airechtaigh, and the Sil-Muiredhaigh, 
who were in the wood — the resolution they adopted was not to 
bestow attention or I'egard on the Foreigners, since their cows, and 
their people with them, had reached the fastnesses of Muinter-Eolais 
and of Sliabh-an-iarainn. Donn Og said that he would not observe this 
resolution. The course he decided on was to go to the west side of the 
Foreigners until he reached Finn-charn, accompanied b}' his own 
brother, and the young men of Sil-Muiredhaigh, and by his own 
Foreigners, and by the son of Domnall Bregach O'Maelsechlainn with 
his Foreigners, and by Brian, son of Toirdhelbhach ; and Donn sent a 
fighting party to them, and a good conflict was being waged against 
the Foreigners, and he himself was stationed on the summit of the 
earn, and his hope in the conflict. Then the Foreigners sent a 

^ The crossing point must have been the narrow ferry at Knock. It is evident 
that K. B. knew that bodies of men were between him and the lake. 
2 About Turlough. 



countless host of mercenaries and cavalry around the earn, and they 
{Donns party) observed them not until they passed from the west 
around the earn ; and Donn was left alone there, with the exception 
of a few of his kinsmen, and of Brian, son of Toirdhelbhach ; and 
only for a short time were they allowed to remain thus in one spot. 
Donn Og, being then alone, was proclaimed and recognised ; and 
many soldiers took aim, and five arrows were lodged in him; and 
one horseman came up with him afterwards ; and though he {Donn) 
had no weapon but an axe, he did not allow the horseman to close 
with him ; and the horseman would drive his lance into him occasion- 
ally. The other soldiers surrounded him from the east and west, 
and he fell by the superior power that overtook him there. 

" Regarding Aedh, son of Ruaidhri, moreover ; he was on the east 
side of the Foreigners, awaiting them ; and he did not give them 
battle, and it was not with his consent that Donn had done so. And 
the rout extended eastwards towards him ; and he knew not then 
that Donn had been slain ; but Aedh escaped uninjured throvigh the 
strength of his hand ; and he turned upon one man of them who was 
taking aim at him, and cast the lance which was in his hand at him, 
so that the shaft went through him ; and he was afterwards allowed 
to depart. However, as success attended the Foreigners, and as Donn 
Og was slain, the Foreigners sent out great predatory bands as far as 
Sliabh-an-iarainn, and subjected multitudes to cold and hunger on this 
occasion. And women and children were killed ; and all that were not 
killed were stripped ; and they carried off great, fruitful preys to the 
camp of the Foreigners. The Foreigners departed after this on the 
morrow, and left the sovereignty with Felim, son of Cathal Crobhderg ; 
and Aedh, son of Ruaidhi'i, was banished to Aedh O'Neill." (L.C.) 

This account recognises only one army of the English. Comparing 
it with the Annals of Boyle, Clonmacnoise, and Ulster, we gather 
that the invasion was made by two armies. The justiciary, R. de 
Burgh, and Donogh Cairbrech O'Brien came from the south and 
secured the submission of O'Flaherty and the Mayo O'Conors, who 
formed the western group of rebels. The ai-my of Meath, under 
Hugh de Lacy, accompanied by William de Burgo and Felim O'Conor, 
dealt with the Roscommon group, consisting of the Silmurray and 
MacDermot's forces. The two armies met at the Callow of the Rock 
of Lough Key — that is, near Rockingham House — where they stayed 
a week and two nights. It is not clear where or when occurred the 
skirmish in which D. Magei-aghty fell. If the Finncharn could be 
identified the site would be known. One account mentions that he 
was killed in the Curlews. 

The movements of the western army are given with unusual 
clearness. The account of the actual figjhting in the skirmish is a 


rare instance of such detail. It shows that a man with an axe and a 
horseman with a lance were fairly evenly matched. Unfortunately, 
we are not told whether Donn Og was on horseback or on foot. We 
should expect a man of his rank to be mounted, but in this case he 
was surprised while watching the fight from a earn. 

From mention of the foreigners of Donn Og and of Donnell 
O'Mehighlin, we may infer that it was not unusual for Irish chieftains 
to have a few in their service. But they were not enough to affect 
the character of the Irish forces or enable them to withstand an 
army, and were probably small bodyguards. 

In 1231 King Felim met R. de Burgo at Meelick, where R. de 
Burgo made him prisoner — by the treachery of his own men, according 
to the Annals of Boyle. Aedh, son of Ruaidhri, was now set up in 
his place. In the following year King Henry ordered R. de Burgo 
to release Felim on bail to answer the charges against him. As 
Richard failed to release him, the king made Maurice FitzGerald 
justiciary in his place, and ordered him to take up the whole of 
Connaught and hold it if Richard still refused to surrender the castle 
of Meelick and the prisoners of Connaught. Felim was released, but 
the castle was not surrendered. The king even asked for Felim's 
help in taking the castle before Felim should come to England to 
see him, as Felim wished to do. This occurred in May 1233. The 
castle was never surrendered. The war of Richard Marshall 
occurred next year. Richard de Burgo stood by the king, and was 
restored to favour. Meanwhile, in 1232, Richard was strengthening 
himself. The Annals inform us that he built the castle of Galway, 
and that Adam Staunton began that of Donamon. 

Donogh, son of Tomaltach MacDermot, is noted by the Four Masters 
to have died in Aicideacht, which is a name of the territory of Clann 
Cuain. He must have submitted and held the land under Richard, 
or one of the O'Conors, or have been only a visitor there. 

Felim, being released, secured the adhesion of MacDermot and of 
the Three Tuaths, and destroyed the power of the sons of Ruaidhri 
by killing Aedh, two of his brothers, two of his nephews, and some 
Englishmen near Tibohine. He then turned on R. de Burgo. 
"The castles that had been erected through the power of the sons 
of Ruaidhri O'Conchobhair and the son of William Burk were 
demolished by Fedhlim, viz. the castle of Bun-Gaillmh^, and 
Caislen-na-circe and Caislen-na-Caillighe, and the castle of Dun- 
Imdhain " (L.C.). This Caislen-na-circe and this Caislen-na-Caillighe 
are the castles standing in L. Carra on Castle Island and Hag 
Island. The sons of Ruaidhri had their settlements in Carra. The 
ruins of the castle on Castle Island are of later date than this period. 
The same may probably be said of the little that remains on Hag 


Island. The first castles were no doubt very rough. Felim had 
things all his own way in Connaiight in the years 1233 and 1234, 
owing to Kichard Burk's quarrel with the king and Richard Mar- 
shall's war. 

Irish family life of the period is illustrated by the following entry 
for the year 1234. " Aedh O'hEghra, King of Luighne, was killed by 
Donnchadh, son of Duarcan O'hEghra — (a house was burned over him, 
and he was killed in the door of the house, after coming out of it) — 
in revenge for his having first killed his brother (i.e. Donnchadh's 
brother) and the five sons of his father's brother, and having blinded 
his other brother" (L.O.). The Annals of Boyle say that Donogh 
was A.edh's brother and succeeded him. 

In 1235 the English were free to deal with Felim O'Conor, who 
had set himself up as king of the ancient kingdom of Connaught. 
His position must have seemed very secure to Donogh Cairbrech 
O'Brien, King of Thomond, who had accepted the position of a vassal 
of King Henry, and had hitherto acted loyally towards him, but now 
entered into alliance with Felim. 

The justiciary had two objects in view in the campaign of 1235 — to 
reduce Felim to subjection or to oust him, and to put R. de Burgo in 
possession of his Connaught lordship, which the king had taken up in 
1233. The Irish lords in immediate possession of territories were 
generally ready to submit. The trouble was with the O'Conors. 

Maurice FitzGerald, the justiciary, came in person, accompanied 
by R. de Burgo, Hugh de Lacy, Walter de Ridelesford, and John 
Cogan. They advanced by Athlone, and reached Boyle Abbey on 
Trinity Sunday. They sent detachments thence as far as Glenfarne 
in the Co. Leitrim, whom they met at Ardcarne on their return with 
the prey. They then adopted what the annalist calls an extraordinary 
resolution. They retraced their steps and went through Tirmaine 
and Maenmagh into Thomond, to punish Donogh O'Brien, who had 
plundered O'Heyne. Felim O'Conor followed them in accordance 
with his engagements with O'Brien. They had a good many skir- 
mishes, and a battle in which the O'Briens and O'Conors were 
defeated. O'Brien submitted. The justiciary then moved against 
0' Flaherty, who submitted. 

" As to Fedhlim, son of Cathal Crobhderg, however, the resolution 
he adopted was to take with him towards O'Domhnaill all the cows 
that he found in Conmaicne-Mara and in Conmaicne-na-Cuile, and 
those belonging to all who obeyed his counsel— and the son of Magh- 
nus,^ and Conchobhar Euadh, son of Muirchertach Muimhnech — and 
to leave the country wasted for the Foreigners. After this, truly, 
the Foreigners came to Dun-Modhord,^ and sent messengers to Magh- 
' Mac Maghnus. 2 Ooon Castle, near Westport. 


nus, son of Muirchertach Muimhnech, to demand peace and hostages 
from liim ; and Maghnus gave them neither peace nor hostages. 
The Foreigners then sent great predatory bands from Dun-Mugh- 
dhord,^ and the sons of Ruaidhri, with innumerable mercenaries ; and 
these plundered Eccuill.'- and bi-ought great herds with them to 
Druimne, to meet the Foreigners. As regards Aedh O'Flaithbher- 
taigh and Eoghan O'hEidhin, however, they went round with a large 
army, and with boats which had been brought to Linan-Chinnmhara.^ 
The boats came with their forces, the Justiciary having gone to meet 
them to Druimne, to the callow of Inis-aenaigh.* Maghnus was at 
this time, with his vessels, in the sound of the island ; and great 
contests and conflicts were waged by them in turn. The Foreigners 
were at this time fatigued, and the resolution they adopted was to 
occupy a camp, and to withdraw their boats to a corner of the large 
strand which was there. When Maghnus "perceived this thing he 
proceeded from the sound eastwards, and went upon Inis-rathain ; 
and some of his people went upon Inis-aenaigh, and took sheep there- 
from to eat. When [the Foreigners] observed, moreover, that Magh- 
nus and his people had gone towards the island, and then to another 
island, and that they had neither watch nor ward over the Foreigners, 
and that the island was between them and the Foreigners — when 
the Foreigners perceived this they arose furiously, terribly and 
quickly; and they suddenly lifted their boats along the strand, and 
pvTt them on the sea, and filled them promptly with forces, and with 
armed, mail-clad soldiers, who went upon the two islands, and killed 
all the people they found in them. Maghnus and all of his people 
who Avere in Inis-rathain, arose and went into their vessels ; and 
if O'Maille's people had been esteemed by Maghnus, he {O'Maille) 
would have sent his vessels against the Foreigners and their boats. 
However, though short the period of the day remaining at this hour, 
there was not a cow remaining on any island of Innsi-Modh that was 
not transferred to the shore before night ; and [the owners of the coifs\ 
would have themselves previously gone away, through thirst and 
hunger, if they had not been captured ; and many inferior persons 
were slain between them this night. On Friday, moreover, the day 
following, they went upon the islands of the North of Umhall, and 
the masters of the mercenaries, in honour of the Passion, imposed a 
restriction that no man should be killed. When the Foreigners had 
succeeded in robbing and plundering Umhall, by sea and land, they 
proceeded with their cows and preys to Lughbhurtan ; ^ and the 
Foreigners went from thence by regular marches to Es-dara, when 

^ Doon Castle, near Westport. 

2 Country between Clew Bay and Killeries. ^ Leenane. 

« Inisbeeny. ^ Luffertaun. 

86 thp: early history of the county of mayo. 

they committed a depredation on O'Domhnaill, on account of the 
banishment to him of Fedhlim." (L.C.) 

Maurice FitzGerald held Tii'connell under de Lacy, and had made 
O'Donnell submit. 

The remark that O'Malley's people had not been esteemed by 
Maghnus seems to mean that Maghnus, being settled in Umhall, 
acted oppressively towards the O'Malleys, who therefore did not 
help him, but rather hoped for his defeat. This seems to have caused 
a family quarrel. 

The English army came back from the north through Roscommon, 
and captured the Rock of Lough Key, and left a garrison there, 
which was shut out of the island one day by the Irish warder left 
therein. MacDermot thus recovered the Rock. 

" The Foreigners afterwards left Connacht without food, clothes, 
or cattle ; and they did not carry off with them either pledges or 
hostages on this journey ; and they left neither peace, nor quietness, 
nor tranquillity, nor happiness in the country ; but the Gaeidhel 
themselves were robbing and killing one another regarding the 
residue which the Foreigners left in it on this occasion. As regards 
Fedhlim, however, he made peace with the Justiciary, and obtained 
the King's five cantreds, out of which he was to receive rent and 
customs ; and Cormac, son of Tomaltach MacDiarmada, came with 
him.^' (L.C.) 

The following entries occur in the Annals of Loch Ce, but without 
indications of date :— 

" Taichlech, son of Aedh O'Dubhda, King of Ui-Amhalghaidh and 
TJi-Fiachi'ach, was killed by the discharge of an arrow, whilst inter- 
fering {to quell a dispute) in the camp of Fedhlim, son of Cathal 
Crobhderg, King of Connacht." 

"The two sons of Muiredhach O'Maille, Domhnall and Muircher- 
tach, were slain by Domhnall, son of Maghnus, son of Muirchertach 
O'Conchobhair, and by Niall Ruadh, son of Cathal O'Conchobhair, 
in Cliara, where they were interred also." 

" Tuathal, son of Muirchertach O'Conchobhair, was killed by Con- 
chobhar Buidhe, son of Toirdhelbhach O'Conchobhair, and by Concho- 
bhar, son of Aedh Muimhnech, in hoc anno." 

" The mercenaries and kernes who were on Finn-loch of Cera, 
acting oppressively on the part of the son of Ruaidhri, were slain by 
Maghnus, son of Muirchertach, in hoc anno. . . . The castle of Milic 
was broken down by Fedhlim O'Conchobhair," 

The following entry appears in 1236, showing the ill-feeling which 
arose in 1235 : " Maelechlainn O'Maille was killed on Oilen-da- 
chrunde by Domhnall, son of Maghnus, son of Muirchertach 


In 1236 Richard de Burgo went to England. He built the castle 
of Loughi'ea in this year. A breach occurred between the justiciary 
and Felim — about a boundary, according to the Annals of Boyle. 
Felim was driven away to Ulster, and Brian, son of Torlogh, son of 
Ruaidhri, was set up in his place. 

Felim came back at the invitation of O'Kelly, O'Flynn, and others, 
and made a successfvil attack on Brian at Randown. MacCostello 
was present on Brian's side. Richard de Burgo came against him 
with an army, which seems to have met another brought by Maurice 
FitzGerald in Roscommon, probably near Castlereagh. The Clan 
Murtough seems to have risen as usual. Richard therefore had to go 
off to deal with his own rebels, leaving Maurice FitzGerald to deal 
with the king's cantreds. His proceedings are thus told : — 

"When MacWilliam heard, moreover, that this defeat ^ had been 
inflicted on all of his people who had turned against him, he joined 
with 0'Conchobhair,2 and came to attack him,'^ or to pacify him. 
Diarmaid, son of Maghnus O'Conchobhair, went under the protec- 
tion of the son of Muirchertach O'Conchobhair. Then it was that 
MacWilliam proceeded without notice, without being observed, to 
Tuaim-d;i-ghualann, and from thence to Magh-Eo of the Saxons ; and 
not a stack of seed or of corn of all that was in the great relig of 
Magh-Eo, or in the relig of the church of Michael the Archangel, was 
left without being taken away together ; and three score, or four score 
baskets were brought out of these churches, besides every other injury 
and disorder committed after them ; but this was of little consequence. 
And they went from thence to Turloch, on which the same punish- 
ment was inflicted. And they sent out great predatory bands against 
the people of the son of Maghnus, who met the people of Conchobhar 
Ruadh and of Turlagh, and plundered them all indiscriminately. 
Maghnus, indeed, was obliged to send away from him such of the 
people of the son of Maghnus O'Conchobhair as had come to him, or 
else the same treatment would have been inflicted on him as had 
been inflicted on his brother. As to Conchobhar Ruadh, moreover, he 
went on the morrow into the house of MacWilliam, and made peace 
there ; and his preys of the cows of which he had been plundered 
were restored to him ; and what the people of the church found alive 
of their stock was given to them. Regarding the son of Maghnus, also, 
he went into the house of the Foreigners for the sake of his cows and 
people ; i.e. of all that had been left to him of his cows. Then 
MacWilliam went to Bulla, where he remained two nights, and 
pi'oceeded from thence to Tuaim-da-ghualann ; and he left Connacht 
afterwards without food or clothing in church or territory, without 
peace, or quiet, or prosperity, but each man attacking his fellow, 
^ At Randown. ^ Brian. ^ Felim. 


excepting the supremacy which the sons of INIuirchertuch conceded 
to him, . . . 

" Great vain, and bad weather, and war in this year ; famine, and 
scarcity of food and clothing ; and kernes and sons of malediction, 
who had been candle-extinguished by the hands of bishops, without 
respect for church or sanctuary ; and superior dignitaiies of the 
Catholic church were neither night nor day without suffering from 
fear or terror. Numerous retreats and frequent headlong routs to 
the churches ioolc place, before Foreigners and Gaeidhel, and lodging- 
houses were made of churches and the residences of saints in this 
year ; and during the period of twelve years down from the war of 
O'Neill were the Foreigners and Gaeidhel plundering in turn, without 
sovereignty or supremacy being possessed by one beyond another, but 
the Foreigners able to destroy it (^Connarht) every time they came into 
it; the king and royal heirs of Connacht pillaging and profaning 
territories and churches after them." (L.C.) 

This last paragraph expresses the cause of the troubles, the quairel- 
ling of the O'Conors and other native chiefs among themselves. The 
English policy up to this time had been to leave the Irish chieftains 
in possession as vassals, to govern and hold the country through them. 
The annalists tell us how completely it failed and why it failed. 
O'Brien tried his strength faii-ly, and when beaten accepted his 
former position honestly, thereby retaining possession of most of his 

The annalist writes of Richard de Burgo's visit to England in this 
year, " And little of Erinn's benefit did he effect by his journey " ; from 
which it may be inferred that he arranged with King Henry for a 
new policy in his lordship of Connaught — the distribution of it among 
the barons of Ireland, and the establishment of colonies and garrisons, 
which would compel the Irish chieftains to keep the peace. This 
policy was carried out in 1237, when it is noted that "The barons of 
Erinn came into Connacht, and commenced to build castles in it " ; 
again, in 1238 it is noted that " Castles were erected in Muinter- 
Murchada, and in Conmaicne-Ciiile, and in Cera, by the aforesaid 

In 1237 Felim came again and defeated Brian in a small battle. 
FitzGerald now gave up the attempt to maintain Brian, but Felim 
gave up liis pretensions of independence and accepted the lordship of 
the Five Cantreds. He visited King Henry in 1240. Certain it is 
that henceforth, until his son Aedh broke into rebellion, he was a 
loyal vassal of the king, and kept the peace towards R. de Burgo. 

The following notes occur regarding Mayo chieftains in 1237: — 

"Maghnus, son of Diarmaid, son of ]Maghnus, was killed by Domh- 
nall, son of Diarmaid, son of Ruaidhri O'Conchobhair, in hoc anno. 


Muirchertach, son of Diarmaid, sou of Ruaidhri O'Conchobbair, was 
killed by the sons of Maghnus, son of Muirchertach Muimhnech 
O'Conchobbair, in this year." (L.C.) 

" A depredation was committed by Conchobbar, sou of Cormac, 
on Ruaidhri O'Gadbra, whose brother he killed." Conor was a 

In 1238 "Donnchadh, sou of Duarcau O'hEghra, King of Luighne, 
was taken prisoner by Tadbg, son of Aedh, son of Catbal Crobbderg ; 
and when he was taken away to be confined his own kinsmen, i.e. 
the sons of Aedh O'hEghra, slew him on the way in Tir-Briuin-na- 

" Maelruanaidh, son of Donnchadh O'Dubbda, was slain by Mael- 
sechlainn, son of Conchobbar Rnadh, son of Muirchertach ;Muimhnech 
O'Conchobbair, and by the son of Tighernan, son of Catbal Migaran 
O'Conchobbair." (L.C.) 

These entries, and others, show bow confused were the quarrels of 
O'Conors among themselves. If the entries relating to O'Conors who 
were not connected with Mayo are taken into account the effect is 
still more confusing. One point comes out well. The Clan Murtough 
produced very tui-bulent and very able men. They were not in a 
position to secure the sovereignty for themselves, but were at all 
times ready for war. While they were vassals of de Burgo, or of his 
vassals, they were unable to take part in the O'Conor family quarrels. 
When they were expelled in 1273, and obliged to live among the other 
O'Conors, they took a high position and forced membei's of their 
family into the sovereignty of the O'Conors for a time. 

In the latter part of this period the following families are ascer- 
tained to have been settled in Mayo: Ruaidhri's sons Torlogb and 
Aedh in Carra; Clan Murtough, Clan Manus, and Clan Catbal Migaran 
in Clann Cuain and in Umhall. The family of Catbal Crobbderg 
was probably settled among the Conmaicne, but whether they were 
actually settled or not, the Conmaicne were very much under the 
control of the O'Conor kings. The Ciarraighe were in much the 
same position. 

In the new order all the O'Conors were expelled from Mayo except 
Clan Murtough, who remained in Umhall and perhaps in Clann 
Cuain for thirty years. 

O'Dowda was turned out of Tirawley. O'Gara and O'Hara were 
turned out of Gallen and North Costello. Thus they cease to be 
Mayo families. 



Under King Cathal Crovderg, the transition from Irish to Koman 
discipline and practice was completed by transfer of the ancient 
endowments to the bishops, and imposition of a legal liability to pay 
tithes, which must have been made effective by the beginning of the 
thirteenth century, as the paiish work could not be carried on without 
land or tithes. The tithe not being equivalent to the glebes and 
conventual lands, much amalgamation of parishes was necessai-y, 
which we know to have taken place at that time. 

The tithe was soon taken away in great part by assignment of 
rectories to monasteries, until only a few incumbents were rectors, 
who usually held the rectory by right of cathedral office. The 
bishop took one-fourth and the rector three-fourths, or the rector half 
and the curate one-fourth. In the fifteenth century even vicarages 
were made over to the College of Galway. 

The ancient abbeys of Cong and Mayo kept rectories of parishes 
which must have been for the most part under their management 
from early times. Other rectories were assigned to new foundations, 
and others after 1237 by the new lords to monasteries with which 
they had family connection in other provinces. Land given to a 
monastery carried the tithe with it. The parochial clergy were so 
sacrificed to the monks that after a time in some dioceses of Ireland 
the bishops had difficulty in filling the charges, and to do so had to 
get dispensation for removal of disqualification. 

Errew Abbey has been noted as the first built in this country 
under the influence of the ideas and system introduced with the Cis- 
tercians of Mellifont. Cong was re-edified in the beginning of the 
thirteenth century, and Inishmaine probably a little earlier. These 
and Mayo are the only houses which survived from the early period, 
unless, as is probable, the small house of nuns near Ballinrobe, 
called Killeennacrava, be a survival. 

In 1216 Ballintubber Abbey, which became one of the greatest 
abbeys of Mayo, as rich or richer and second to Cong only in 
antiquity and reputation, was founded for Regular Canons of St, 



Augustine of noble birth, the first original foundation under the new 
system in this county. 

To the period between 1170 and 1230 we may assign such great 
parish chiirches as those of Shrule, Holyrood at Ballinrobe, and Bur- 
riscarra, all about ninety feet long in Gothic style, as built by the 
descendants of Torlogh Mor O'Conor, being found where those O'Conors 
are known to have settled, and not elsewhere in Mayo as far as I know. 
Here they came as new lords, and built great churches for themselves 
in the style of their time, as the new English lords soon after founded 
abbeys for themselves. The local chieftain families had no occasion 
to build new churches, nor inducement to sever connection with their 
own old abbey churches. Nor did the transfer of lands to bishops, and 
consequent decay of the convents of monks with which their families 
had been associated, encourage them to endow fresh communities. 

These changes must have been felt in the social life of the people, 
though we cannot say how they were felt, as we have no knowledge 
of daily life in the country in general. They were brought about by 
a change in the feelings of the superior clergy, and not in conse- 
quence of changes in the feeling of the people of the country. The 
disappearance of so many of the clergy, though no doubt spread over 
some years, made a difference between old days and new. The con- 
quest of Connaught, and appearance of new lords and their followers 
throughout the greater part of Connaught, and over neaily all Mayo 
in particular, made the break complete and sudden. 

Churchmen played no visible part in the history of this county. 
Lay and ecclesiastical history may be said to run side by side, but 
the course of the latter was affected by the former, which made the 
ecclesiastical tendencies already at work general and effective. 

In the wars of conquest and settlement the clergy had no part. 
Irish bishops and abbots were not warriors or servants of their kings. 
But when the country was settled we find that Archbishop Flann 
MacFlynn and Bishop John O'Laidigh of Killala petitioned the king 
in 1255 on behalf of themselves and the clergy for redress of grievances 
connected mainly with legal proceedings of the king's ministers, and 
that they got a remedy on several points. On the whole the griev- 
ances seem to have arisen in administration of the law through a 
wide expanse of country not yet fully settled and fitted for the king's 
legal system in all respects, and not from actual wrongdoing, though 
they did make some complaints of corrupt practices ; to which the 
king could answer only as he did, that such things were forbidden 
and that he would punish any ofiicer against whom misconduct was 

Walter of Salerno was appointed archbishop in 1258, but did not 
live to come to the diocese. Until the appointment of Stephen Ful- 


bourne in 128G, tlie archbishops were of (4aelic family. Stephen was 
the king's minister, and cannot have done much in the diocese. He 
was succeeded in 1289 by William Bermingham, a son of Meyler, 
who was head of the Connaught branch of the family, a turbulent 
man who quarielled with his clergy. But those quarrels had no con- 
nection with Mayo. The archbishops were of Gaelic family after his 
death in 1312. 

The first English bishop of Killala was John Tankard, elected 
in 1306. No Englishman was appointed to Achonry for a long 

8o long as the king's power prevailed in Connaught, bishops were 
appointed in the usual course ; the king gave the Chapter leave to 
elect, and assented to the election if sjifcisfied, whereupon the elect 
was presented to the Pope for confirmation. As this course was not 
always exactly followed, disputes arose from time to time. When the 
king's power disappeared his interference ceased. By the close of the 
fourteenth century the Chapters had lost their rights, and the Pope 
appointed as he pleased. In the fifteenth century clergymen work- 
ing in England were appointed bishops of Achonry and Annagh- 
down, who never came to their dioceses. Some were suffragans of 
English bishops. The appointments must have been made to give 
them income. They paid substantial fees to the Pope on appoint- 
ment, which would not have been paid for honorary title. The 
bishopric of Mayo was revived in this century, and at least one 
bishop, John Bell, appointed in 1493, was a suffragan of the Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury. After his time it was again amalgamated 
with Tuam. 

In such conditions it is no wonder that the Cathedral Church of 
Achonry was in ruins, and that the Cathedral Church of Tuam was only 
the chancel of the great church built by King Torlogh Mor, the nave 
having fallen in 1184. Legate Wolf describes the church as having 
been used as a fortress for 300 years until Archbishop Bodkin 
recovered it for religious use. It is hard to understand this, that it 
was abandoned in the thirteenth century, when Stephen Fulbourne left 
articles for use there, and the king orders various articles to be handed 
over to the Dean and Chapter for decoration of the church. The 
explanation may be that the ruined nave was adapted as a fortified 
dwelling for the archbishop, which he would require in the thirteenth 
century ; that eventually it fell into lay hands when the archbishop 
lived elsewhere, of which there is some evidence in the division of 
Connaught and Thomond of 15'^4, which mentions Archbishop Lally 
in the county of Galway only as Bishop of Annaghdown, and describes 
the archbishopric of Tuam and the bishoprics of Mayo and Killala 
as in the county of Mayo. The archbishops had large manors 


at Aghagower and Kilniaine, and may have been in the habit of 
living there. 

The Chapters fell into decay and • existed only in name. The 
members ceased to do duties except as incumbents of parishes held 
as prebends. Prebendaries who survived seem to be canons who 
held no particular office. In some cases the title of Prebendary 
survived without emoluments. 

With such corruption and decay in all that relates to the episcopal 
order, we can understand that the parochial clei'gy fell into a very 
poor state, depressed and neglected more aiad more until the Church 
I'eached its lowest point of corruption in the beginning of the six- 
teenth centui-y. 

Degradation of secular and exaltation of regular clergy corre- 
spond with and account for the difference between contemporaneous 
parochial and monastic architecture. In the beginning of the 
thirteenth century the new monastic and parochial churches in the 
Gothic style present such differences as might be expected from the 
different size and purpose, but the further developments in monastic 
architecture were not accompanied by like developments in parish 
churches. We find similar ornament, the fashion of the day, and 
there the likeness ends. Growth should have been, but was not, 
parallel. We find no reason for this but the fact that the monasteries 
got most of the money, that it was hard to raise funds for parish 
purposes. Those who designed the doors, windows, and towers of the 
abbey churches could have made and executed designs of equal grace 
and elegance on a smaller scale. But the standard parish church was 
a poor, mean building apart from difference in size. 

The conquest imposed a marked change on architecture. The 
Gothic style came in naturally at first, adapted to existing conditions, 
as in the distinctly Gothic churches of Illaunnaglashy and Kinlough 
with rooms for the clergy at the west end, and a square tower opening 
into them, of about the same date as the three great parish churches, 
with which they should be classed rather than with the other parish 
churches. After the conquest most of the peculiar llomanesque 
features were thrown off in new work, but the churches are on the 
plan of the Romanesque churches with door and window frames of 
the new fashion, but modified from the English style, very much in 
the direction of using very few windows, and those only narrow slits, 
to economise glass and keep out wind and rain. 

These later parish churches usually show ogival ornament and 
mouldings, where any are left. But, on the other hand, they show 
rather the proportions and the arrangements of the Romanesque 
churches, as if they were a reversion to Gaelic usage in church prac- 
tices concurrently with adoption of Gaelic social customs. Families 


of rank lebuilt or reconstructed ancient parish churches. Of course 
the plan would remain the same wlieu the "restoration" consisted of 
insertion of more fashionable door and window frames in old walls, a 
not uncommon case. Other churches were enlarged only by lengthen- 
ing. When the new church was built on a new site the architect was 
free to design the best that the funds allowed. 

The old parish church of Inishrobe at Cuslough, now called Tempul 
na Lecca, is a good example. The earlier church is on Inishrobe, 
28 ft. 6 in. long by 10 ft. 2 in. wide inside. The new church, 
showing ogival ornament, is on the mainland. It needs only to be 
stripped of ivy and plants, to be roofed and plastered, to restore it to 
its original condition. It measures 41 ft. by 18 ft. 6 in. inside. The 
plan is typical of most parish churches of its period, whether I'estored 
Romanesque or original. They differ a little in proportion of length 
and breadth, but the arrangements of doors and windows are in sub- 
stance the same. The east window is generally very narrow, but 
sometimes large and even double, as at Islandeady. In the south 
wall is another narrow splayed window, close to the east wall in order 
to light the altar. In Tempul na Lecca it is so close to the east 
wall that the splay is only four inches on that side. This is some- 
times larger, as at Kilmolai-a, where there is a mullion. A door is in 
the south wall near the west end. If the church is long a small slit 
may be found between the door and the west wall, or even two as 
at Islandeady. The church of Kilgeever is almost a copy of Tempul 
na Lecca, and the old church of Addergool on Lough Con seems to 
have been the same. This might be called a standard plan. These 
must have been very dark and gloomy places of worship. 

The restored chvuches vary much, but are mainly of the same simple 
plan. The chancel of earlier times has been dropped. Where it is 
found, the church is a survival from a time when chancels were in 
fashion, when an earlier church was made a chancel by adding a nave, 
or was made a nave by adding a chancel. 

The case of the monasteries differs widely, showing a course of 
prosperity and increase until the year 14G9, when the last foundation 
was made in Mayo. 

The small aVjbey on Clare Island is said to have been founded in 
1224 for Carmelites, but as it was a cell of Knockmoy at the dissolu- 
tion, and as it is improbable that a very small house would have been 
founded in such a remote place before the order was well established 
in these parts, we shall do better to take it to have been always 
Cistercian. If the date he correct, it is the first house founded in 
Mayo for what may be called the new orders as distinguished from 
the Augustinian Canons, who seem to have been but a reformation of 
old Irish orders. 


After the Conquest most dates are fairly certain. Some of the 
greater of the new lords established monasteries, according to the 
custom of the time, as soon as they were settled in their new baronies. 
The great lords who held whole cantreds were the first to do so, and 
lesser lords did the same later on ; but the abbey-building period 
in Mayo was for about a hundred years — from the middle of the 
fourteenth century. 

The Monastery of Athlethan, or Strade Abbey, is the earliest of 
known date. Jordan de Exeter founded it for Franciscans before 
1252, when it was made over to the Dominicans. It was burnt in 
1254 and rebuilt. The present ruins are those of a restoration of 
1434, showing a large and beautiful church. Rathfran, a much 
smaller establishment, was an offshoot of this house, founded in 1274, 
probably by Stephen de Exeter. 

Though we do not know of its existence for certain until 1337, 
the House of Hermits of St. Augustine at Ballinrobe may be 
the earliest Anglo-Norman foundation in the county. The archi- 
tecture suggests an early date, and the size a great lord as 
founder. Maurice FitzGerald founded many monasteries. As soon 
as he was in firm possession of his great Sligo estate he built that 
abbey, and is likely to have given this house for his South Mayo 

Burriscarra is undated, but is in an early style, likely to have 
been built while Oarra was under one great baron. It was built for 
Carmelites, but being abandoned by them for thirty years, was made 
over in 1412 to Austin Friars from Ballinrobe. Archbishop King 
says it was founded in 1298. 

Ballinsmalla, also undated, was a small Carmelite house, which 
may be safely attributed to the Prendergasts of that barony. 

The military orders do not appear in Mayo except in connection 
with the House of St. John at Ballinrobe, a farm given to the Hospital 
probably in the thirteenth century, as the Prior of the Hospital of 
St. John in Ireland had a bailiff there before 1304. 

The only nunneries in Mayo were the ancient Killeennacrava, and 
Inishmaine which was made over to the great Benedictine Nunnery 
of Kilcreevanty at an unknown date. 

We find two distinct plans of the greater abbey churches, which 
may be called standard plans of their period ; but the minor houses 
differed from them, as might be expected, having smaller churches on 
various simple plans. 

The earlier or thirteenth-century plan is a long rectangle, with a 
chapel at the west end opening into the north or south wall of the 
nave, and with conventual buildings on the opposite side, as at Rath- 
fran, Ballinrobe, Burriscarra, Ballyhaunis, and Urlare. The original 


pluu of Strade is uncertain. The chancel is thirteenth-century work, 
altered later on. 

The later or fourteenth-century plan, which came into Connaught 
in the fourteenth century, is a long church divided into choir and 
nave by two arches supporting two sides of a nearly square central 
tower or belfry, with transept and aisle sometimes. The belfry is 
lofty, and being less than the full width of the church, is elegant and 
slender. Bui-rishoole is exceptional in Mayo in having a tower the 
full width of the church. The choir is sometimes less than the full 
width of the nave. Such are llosserk and Moyne, and such was 
Murrisk, whereof only the choir is left with enough to show what 
the tower was. 

At the dissolution the monasteries we»"e distributed as follows in 
the baronies : — 


1. Augustinian Canons. Cong. Ancient and very rich. 

2. Augustinian Canonesses. Killeennacrava. An ancient small 
nunnery, which seems to have been under Cong. 

3. Augustinian Hermits. Ballinrobe. Founded before 1337. 

■i. Benedictine Nuns. Inishmaine. An ancient monastery, occu- 
pied in the early thirteenth century by men, probably Augustinian 
Canons, but afterwards made over to the Benedictine Nunnery of 

5. Knights Hospitallers. Ballinrobe. St. John's House was pro- 
bably only a farm, not inhabited by Knights. It was in their 
possession in the thirteenth centui-y. 

6. Franciscans. Annagh. It is said to have been founded in 1440 
by Walter Bourke, MacWilliam, who died in it, as a cell of Cong. If 
so, it was afterwards transferred to the Franciscans. 

7. Franciscans — Third Order. Killeenbrenan or Kilbrenan, now 
called Moorgagagh. Founded in 1428, probably by one of the 


8. Augustinian Canons. Ballintubber. Founded by King Cathal 
O'Conor in 1216. A very rich house. The church is in Gothic 
style, with Norman features. The Canons were to be of noble birth. 
Cross Abbey, in Erris, was under it. 

9. Augustinian Hermits. Burriscarra. Founded for Carmelites 
in 1298, probably by Adam Staunton. Being abandoned by them for 
thirty years, Austin Friars from Ballinrobe occupied it, and were 
confirmed in it in 1412. 



10. Dominicans. Burrisool. Founded in 1469 by Richard Bourke, 
MacWilliam. It was then but a wooden house, probably occupied 
hurriedly as a place for Mac William's retirement. 


11. Cistercians. Clare Island. A cell under Knockmoy, but said 
to have been founded for Carmelites in 1224. 

12. Augustinian Hei"mits. Murrisk. Said to have been founded 
in the fourteenth century by O'Malley. 


13. Augustinian Canons. Errew. An ancient foundation. The 
remains were built probably in the twelfth or early thirteenth 

14. Premonstratensian Canons. Killeennatrinody. In Killeen 
townland in Kilbride parish. A cell under the Canons of the Holy 
Trinity of Lough Key. 

15. Augustinian Hermits. Ardnarea. Founded before 1402. 

16. Dominicans. Rathfran. Founded in 1274 by a de Exeter, 
probably Stephen. 

17. Franciscans — Conventuals. Bofeenaun. Probably a late foun- 
dation, but nothing is known of its history. 

18. Franciscans — Observantins. Moyne. Founded in 1458 by 
Thomas Bourke, MacWilliam. A very important house ; the ruins 
are still in good condition. 

19. Fi-anciscans — Third Order. Crossmolina. Founded before 1306, 
probably by a de Barry. 

20. Franciscans — Third Order. Rosserk. This very fine building is 
said to have been founded by a Joy in 1400. It is difficult to explain 
why a Joy should have founded a house in Tirawley at that time. 


21. Augustinian Canons. Cross. A cell vmder Ballintubber, founded 
probably in the fourteenth century or beginning of the fifteenth. 


22. Dominicans. Strade, or Athlethan. Founded for Franciscans 
before 1252 by Jordan de Exeter, who transferred it to Dominicans. 

23. Premonstratensian Canons. Killeen. In Killeen townland of 
Attymas parish, whereof it held the rectory. A cell under the 
Canons of the Holy Trinity of Lough Key. 




24. Augustinian Canons. Mayo. The abbey became the cathedral 
while the bishopric lasted. The ruins are of a much later date. 
A little of the ancient cashel remains. It owned a considerable 

25. Carmelites. Ballinsmalla. Of unknown origin, probably founded 
by a Prendergast. 


26. Augustinian Hei-mits. Ballyhaunis. Founded by Sliocht Jordan 
Duff MacCostello, a little before or after 1400 probably. The com- 
munity never ceased to exist, as a few friars always lived at Bally- 
haunis near their old house. 

27. Dominicans. XJrlare. Founded by MacCostello in 1434. The 
friars had been for two years in another place, probably the Carheen 
in Crossbeg townland in Aghamore parish. 

The cessation of abbey-building must be attributed to decay in the 
Church and loss of fervour and religious feeling. We have no reason 
to suppose that Mayo was in better condition than other parts of the 
country regarding which there is direct evidence. The parish cures 
could not be filled without frequent dispensations for unqualified 
persons. There was no difficulty in filling monasteries. 

General corruption brought about in other countries a desire for 
im])rovement and reform which took effect in the sixteenth century, 
but no such desire appears to have been felt in the Gaelic and 
Gaelicised parts of Ireland. Reformation came here from without, 
and not from within. The clergy of all kinds had lost their hold 
on the people. Great lords and their subjects alike had no regard 
for them, and left them to Pope and King to deal with at their 

Thomas O'^Iullaly was appointed archbishop by the Pope in 1513, 
and lived untroubled by the spirit of inquiry, as far as we know, 
until his death in 1536. When he was appointed the Pope's power 
was undisputed ; when he died that power was gone wherever the 
king established his authority in any degree. 

The king now appointed Christopher Bodkin, whom the Pope had 
previously made Bishop of Kilmacduagh, to be Ai-chbishop of Tuam, 
and the appointment held good. The Pope appointed Arthur O'Frizil, 
but the appointment had no effect. Lord Deputy Grey had come to 
Galway, and had intervened in the succession of MacWilliam Oughter. 
This was enough to take the power out of the Pope's hands. 

It is a measure of the indifference of the people rather than of the 


power of the king, which was in truth but slight. The king put his 
man in possession, and no one would turn him out. There was, 
indeed, no reason why any one should interfere. The services of 
the Church went on as usual without apparent change for many 
years yet. 

Nevertheless Bodkin's appointment, apart from his position being 
due to the king, was the beginning of change. He appears to have 
tried to bring about an improvement of his clergy. His account of 
the clergy of his dioceses drawn up at the beginning of Queen Eliza- 
beth's reign shows that several incumbents are studying at Oxford, 
where he was educated, and at Dublin. The list also shows that the 
parochial revenues were very largely usurped by men of rank, who 
are described as withholding profits. This probably means seizure of 
or withholding of tithes, and certainly denotes that laymen very com- 
monly disregarded the rights of the Church. 

Queen Elizabeth exercised some patronage of dignities, but there 
was very little interference on her part for some time. Her power 
was not made effective in these countries until the close of Sir IS". 
Malbie's government. Owen O'Gallagher was made Bishop of Killala 
by the Pope in 1574. After his death Owen O'Conor, brother of Sir 
Donnell O'Conor Sligo, was elected, but his election was not confirmed 
until 1591, when it was confirmed by the queen as a reward for good 
service. Owen O'Hart was appointed by the Pope in 1562 to be 
Bishop of Achonry. At his death in 16U3, Miler Magrath was ap- 
pointed by the queen. 

Bodkin's appointment was soon followed by the acts for the dissolu- 
tion of the monasteries. It is hard to say how far the orders for 
dissolution were immediately effective in Mayo and the other parts of 
Connaught which were practically free from the power of the Crown. 
For many years the monks and friars occupied as usual their build- 
ings, which were useless to grantees, because a man rich enough to 
occupy such large buildings must live in a castle at that time. We 
have evidence of surrenders of the possessions of the great houses, 
and evidence of grants, but we have no evidence to show whether 
such grantees as the Earl of Clanricard took real possession of the 
lands or left them to the monks. The grants reserved rents, indeed, 
but rents were not paid by the great lords in the west with exact 
punctuality in those days. 

The monasteries had lost possession when the queen's Government 
was well established in Connaught. The inquisitions taken about 
the time of the composition show that their possessions had not 
been exactly ascertained, except in the case of some of the great 
houses, which had been dealt with by leases and grants. The minor 
houses of this county seem to have been ignored, and inquisitions 


were taken then with a view to disposal by the Crown of their 
possessions, which were in hiy hands apparently. 

On the whole it may be said that the Reformation was not much 
felt here in Bodkin's time. The Mass was not prohibited until 1559, 
and in fact continued until the queen's Government enforced the law 
in the last quarter of the century, when priests and friars were agents 
of the Pope and King of Spain to foment rebellion. So far as it 
was suppressed, the suppression affected only parts of Connaught. 
Countries under such lords as O'Rourk were left free from interfer- 
ence. But in Mayo and Galway, and other parts where government 
had been made effective, the revival of the Mass is cited as evidence 
of the confidence of the rebels. Except as a measure of precaution 
against rebellion, the Government did not meddle much in religious 
matters in this country, having its hands full with war and rebellion. 
It was not possible for the Government to deal with the Church 
generally during the turmoil of the close of this century. 






1 i '9 I? y 3> 




The partition of Connaught has been dealt with in articles in 
volumes xxxi., xxxii., xxxiii. of the Journal of the Royal Society of 
Antiquaries of Ireland, based on the inquisitions taken in 1333 after 
the death of Earl William de Burgo. In this chapter the subject 
will be treated with reference to the first settlement, details being 
given in the chapters relating to baronies. A few errors ai'e cor- 
rected by later information. 

Loughrea, Portumna, Meelick, and Galway were Richard de 
Burgo's chief castles in the south, in connectioii with which he 
made settlements and kept great tracts of country under his im- 
mediate control. Loughrea was the head of the whole lordship of 
Connaught, and was called the Manor of Loughrea, whereon all the 
fees depended. The only tract held in demesne in North Connaught 
was that which depended on the castle of Tubberbride, Ballintubber 
in Roscommon, called the cantred of Sylmolron, comprising the de 
Burgo part of the county of Roscommon, except Artagh and the 
lands of the Kerry of Moy Ai. All Mayo was let in great fees. 
The courts in Mayo mentioned in the inquisitions seem to have been 
established by feoffees whose tenures the chief lord had acquired. 

Large tracts were let to the principal barons for low rents and 
services, and sometimes for knight-service only, as they had to incur 
great expense in establishing themselves and settling colonists. A 
good deal of transfer naturally followed the sudden division of so large 
a counti-y, some of the grantees finding it convenient to transfer 
their grants immediately. Thus the great FitzGerald estate was built. 

The inquisitions ignore Conmaicne Cuile Toladh, but we know 
that Maurice FitzGerald had a grant of the western half, including 
the barony of Ross. He acquired the eastern half from Gerald 
Roche, who seems to have acquired from Gerald Prendergast. The 
whole must have been held by knight-service in 1333, as no rents 
are reserved. 

Maurice FitzGerald acquired Tir Nechtain and Tir Enna probably 
from Gerald Prendergast, as that family was settled there from very 
early days, but here again Gerald Roche appears as transferor of 
some lands in these territories together with his half of Conmaicne 



Cuile. Tlie Avhole territory -was called the cantred of Crich Fir 
Thire in 1:^33. 

Adam Staunton, a great baron of Kildare, got Caria pioper, and 
a de Barry got what was called the half cantred of Fir Thire and 
Olann Cuain. 

Henry Butler got the half cantred in Umhall called Owyll Butler, 
held to these days on titles depending on the original grant. The 
rest of Umhall appears in 1333 broken into estates held at higher 
rents, suggesting that an early intermediate tenure had disappeared. 

The southern part of Tirawley was called the cantred of Bac and 
Glen. It is doubtful who was the oiiginal feoffee, probably Richard 
Carew, who certainly had a connection with this country. But 
William Barrett was the actual tenant of the greater part. 

The northern part was called the cantred of Tirawley, where a 
Barrett and Adam Cusack were the principal tenants. Here again 
there is evidence of the disappearance of an intermediate tenure of 
Petit and Cusack. 

Ardnarea, afterwards part of Tirawley, was in Earl Hugh de 
Lacy's cantied of Tii'eragh, but was in immediate possession of Peter 
Bermingham, as the manor of Ardnarea, called in 1333 the cantred of 
Tirremoy. The de Lacy tenure had then passed to the de Burgo earls. 

Clan Murtough Mweenagh lived in Erris until 1274 under un- 
known conditions. Adam Fleming had a large estate there at his 
death in 1281. Later on we find that Stephen de Exeter had lands at 
Dookeeghan, and Henry Butler at Ballycroy under Jordan de Exeter, 
who must have come into possession of the cantred when the O'Conors 
were driven out, unless they had been holding' under his father. 

Hugh de Lacy had a grant of the cantreds of Carbury, Corran, 
Luighne, Sliabh Lugha, and Tireragh, for the service of 10 knights 
and 100 marks. He transferred the first three to Maurice Fitz- 
Gerald, who formed them into the manor of Sligo and built the 
castles of Sligo and Banada. 

Sliabh Lugha of this grant comprised Gallen, which apj^eais in 
the inquisitions as half the cantred of Lowyu or Lowyn. Hugh 
made it the manor of Meelick, which his widow and her husband, 
"William de Lungespee, recovered in 1249 as one-third of five cantreds 
in Connaught assigned to her as dower, and given by her to Richard 
de Burgo in exchange for his manor of Disert Lawrence in Limerick, 
which had since been taken from her. Richard had taken Earl 
Hugh's place here as Avell as in Tireragh. 

Gallen fell to Jordan de Exeter, and Slial)h Lugha proper to 
Miles de Angulo, who appear in history in connection with these 
tei-ritories at about the same time, and who probably weie the 
earliest grantees under Earl Hugh. 


The lands of the Kerry Oughter and of the Kerry of Lochnarney 
do not come to notice for some time. John FitzThomas of Desmond 
had hekl the latter and some land of the Kerry of Moy Ai under 
Sir Maurice of London. Henry Roche held under John and his 
successors by way of exchange for the manor of Mallow in Munster. 
At the close of the century he paid £33, 6s. 8d. yearly as rent to 
Maurice FitzThomas. Of the lands of the Kerry Oughter nothing 
is known. 

A strong castle was built in each great fee to be held by a garrison 
to maintain the lord's authority, to protect his colonists, and to 
command the country. The Anglo-Normans had no liking for the 
stone forts of the Gael, preferring earthworks with wooden palisading, 
which could be put up quickly for temporary occupation. The weak 
point of the circular forts was the want of flanking defence. The 
Normans used Bretasches or wooden towers for this purpose in some 
cases. The cahers and raths were not large enough to hold the 
settlers and soldiers who came to occupy the country. We have 
evidence of the readiness of the early invaders to throw up forts 
and entrenchments for themselves, to avoid, as we may suppose, 
breaking up their strength by distribution in forts not close together. 

Ballylahan is the sole examj)le in this county of a typical baronial 
castle of the thirteenth century, A projecting spur from the high 
ground above the Broad Ford of the Moy, then perhaps crov/ned by 
such a rath as is by the roadside between it and Strade, was chosen 
for Jordan de Exeter's house and castle. The top was surrounded 
by high walls with towers giving flanking defence and accommoda- 
tion for inmates and stores, and a large barbican about the gateway 
was the principal dwelling-house, facing the hill at the connecting 
neck of ground, which was cut by a ditch. The large courtyard was 
of irregular shape, because the walls followed the crest of the slope. 

Castlemore Costello has disappeared, except enough to show that 
it was not the late I'ectangular tower and rectangular baun. Little 
is left of Brees Castle, which was perched on a hill. Castlecarra 
is on a peninsvila whose isthmus is defended by a strong wall and 
gateway. The remains of the tower and buildings are so obscured 
by bushes that details cannot be made out. The early Lough Mask 
castle has been replaced by a fortified house of the early seventeenth 
century. The castles of Burrisool, Castlebar, and Kilcolman have 
disappeared or left only traces. From Downing's description of the 
remains of Castlebar in 1684 we may infer that it was of the 
Ballylahan type with round towers. 

We are told that the Gael turned the seven towers of Banada 
into a monastery, which suggests that it was of Ballylahan type. 
It occupies a similar position by a ford of the Moy. Banada, 


Ballylahan, and Castlekirk at Foxfoi'd secured easy passage across 
the great rivei-. 

Some may have been of the simple type of Moygara Castle, a 
large lectangle enclosed by high walls with square towers at the 
corners. Walter de Ridelesford's castle at Headford, built at the 
first occupation, was apparently of this type. 

The first castles of Mayo were probably walls enclosing a large 
courtyard, with flanking towers at intervals if the site was irregulai', 
or large towers at the four corners of a rectangle if the ground 
allowed such a plan. The lofty tower-house with small towers at 
the corners of the baun was a later development. 

The owners of the great fees formed them into manors, sometimes 
breaking them into several manors, and their feoffees likewise made 
manors of their estates if they were large enough. The records 
mention the manors of Lough Mask, Roba, Moyne, Shrule, Lehinch, 
Carra, Castlemore, Ballycroy, Dookeeghan, and the episcopal manors 
of Cong, Kilmaine, Aghagower, and Kilmoremoy. 

We may assume that manors were organised wherever there was 
a suSicient English colony to require the machinery. The estates in 
hands of Irishmen would not be made manors, as they had no need 
for such machinery. 

Each manor had some house or castle as its head. But the castle 
of the inferior manor would be less than that of the lord of a cantred 
or barony, leather a fortified house, its importance varying with the 
importance of the manor. 

The earliest castles were commonly built on the site of or close to 
an important dun, as Castlemore close to Ailech Mor, and Castlekirk 
replacing Dunguaire in Tirawley, or in places of military importance, 
where there may have been duns already. When we consider the 
lesser castles, whose sites did not depend on general military objects, 
but on local convenience, this is more apparent. As the enfeoffments 
followed the known tribal and clan divisions of lands, we may say 
that the Gaelic Tuath often became a Norman manor, and its chief's 
dun the lord's manor-house. The name of manor has not survived, 
because it denoted only a legal condition. 

When the grantee of a large estate came to settle tenants, he would 
naturally occupy some convenient fort or throw up a temporary 
entrenched camp. This camp, or the fort if an eai-then one, would 
be called le Mote by the settlers, and thus I presume the name of 
Moat has clung to three townlands in this county, and to several in 
other parts of Connauglit, and down to the sixteenth century to land 
near Togher House in this county, which are alike in having no trace 
of the high flat-topped mound which has been called Moat, but do 
generally show low earthworks, in some cases not like the ordinary 


rath. Mx'. Westropp's researches have shown that the Normans 
applied the term mote to any kind of defensive earthwork, and this 
dejBnition covers the Connaught moats. 

Though this Norman name has stuck to some of their first dwelling- 
phxces, they were not the permanent abodes of the lords. The name 
seems to denote an early occupation, which was abandoned in favour 
of a stone house or tower which would be called a castle. Or if the 
original "mote" was changed by building a .stone hov;se or tower, 
then the name was changed also. The common case is that the castle 
has been built near the old fort. 

Three buildings survive in ]Mayo from which we may infer the 
nature of the early small manor-house or small castle. Ballykine 
Castle was at first an oblong house measuring 24 ft. 3 in. by 17 ft. 
10 in. inside. The ground floor was two rooms, 14 ft. and 7 ft., 
the smaller one vaulted, and the upper floor a single room fairly 
well lighted. The lower rooms had but a couple of small slits in the 
smaller i-oom, and a slit beside the door into the large room. The 
lower door may not have been original. Access to the upper floor 
was by a door in the side wall, reached now by a covered flight of 
steps along the side of the house, which seems to be part of the 
addition. The ca.stles of Cuslough and Ballisnahiney suggest that 
the sole original entrance was the upper doorway, reached by a 
ladder. There was no fireplace. 

This was a house, defensible against robber gangs, not a tower or 
castle. The country must have been in a fairly peaceful condition. 
A time came when stronger defence was wanted, and was given by 
additional work on each side supporting a walk and a parapet with 
embrasures for shooting arrows. A small square tower of at least 
four .stories was added to one end, to which there was access only 
from the house. 

Under the great de Burgo lords, the country was in such peace 
generally that a gentleman of some position could safely live in such 
a house. From 1333 began a period of increasing disorder. We 
must assign this house to the thirteenth or early fourteenth century. 
The additions cannot be dated, but must have been there in the 
sixteenth century when MacDonnells occupied the castle. 

The house was built on the slope of the south end of a ridge, in or 
on the edge of a caher which formed its baun. The .souterrain of the 
caher is seen, owing to covering stones having fallen in. The English 
or Norman settler built his good stone house in the caher of the 
O'Caidhins. {Joicnial of Gahvay Arcli'volotjical and Historical Society, 
vol. iii. p. 95.) 

Cuslough Castle may be described as a larger and better Ballykine, 
without a tower, but with the side parapets as part of the original 


plan. The entrance to the first floor is in a gable. It measures 
32 ft. 4 in. by 25 ft. inside. 

Ballisnahiney Castle is a small tower, 42 ft. by 27 ft. outside, with 
an entrance to the first floor. Holes in the wall below it are suitable 
for corbels to support a stone flag as at Cuslough, and two holes above 
it suggest that a door was hung above which could be pushed up and 
let fall. The same arrangement seems to have been in use at Cus- 
lough, where tlie entrance shows no sign of door fittings, and the wall 
above is so covered with ivy that holes or stones may be above. In 
both castles one side is gone. Cuslough Castle was inhabited in the 
nineteenth century, and had modern doorways for the ground floor. 
We may be sure that these entrances to the first floor would not have 
been made if there had been entrances to the ground floor. 

The castle of Ballisnahiney is inside Lis na hEighrighe, a caher 
which formed its baun, having a large cave. 

Castlelucas shows only the lower part of the walls of a house or 
castle about the size of Ballisnahiney, within a wide deep circular 
ditch as of an old fort. 

Ballykine and Cuslough may be put together as houses. Ballisna- 
hiney is a tower. Castleconor in Sligo may be classed with it in 
respect of having only narrow slits as windows, and occupying the 
site of Dun MicConor, though much larger, as might be expected, 
seeing that it was the head of a large manor. 

The only manor in Mayo regarding which we have any details is 
the sub-manor of Lehinch or Muinter Crechain, which appears in the 
Plea Rolls of 28-30, 33 Ed. I., 2 Edw. II. William Prendergast sued 
Henry, son of Henry Roche, the actual lord of the manor, and his free- 
holders for possession, alleging that they had no entry except after 
Gerald Roche had unjustly dispossessed his grandfather "William after 
King Henry's first passage to Gascony, 1243. The other defendants 
called Henry to warranty, and he called to warranty George Roche, a 
Munster lord. The decision is not entered in the Rolls. The Roche 
possession of over fifty years was admitted. W. Prendergast seems 
to have been suing on a title which his ancestor had passed to Gerald 
Roche. The suit must have been dismissed, as Henry's widow sued 
for dower in 2 Edw. II., and her claim was admitted. 

From the first suit are taken the particulars showing the townlands 
held in demesne and the names of the freeholders. The townland 
names are given in modern spelling if still in use. The best of the 
alternative forms is selected from the others. 

Plea Rolls, 28 Edw. I. Roll 52, m. 4. 
William de Prendergast v. Henry de Rupe for the vills of Clonco, 
Balylayne, Dericoul Oughteragh, Derinrus, and Baliblohagh 
in Muintercrechain. 


V. Milo f. Philip de Rupe for the vill of Conlcon. 
V. Henry f. John ., ,, ,, Ardalas. 

V. David f. Henry ,, „ ,, Synnaghcathyn. 

?'. Henry f. Henry ,, ,, ,, Dericoul Ighteragh. 

• V. Richard f . John de Burgo for the \ vill of Skealoghan. 
r. John le Whyte „ ,, Moneycrower. 

V. Eustace Cusyn ,, J ,, Lathathlong. 

V. John f. Gerald ,, vills of Coolisel, Derineserchath, 

and Kilglassan, as his 
In a later plea David Cadwelly calls Henry to warrant to him the 
1^ vill of Skealochan, and John le Whyte is omitted. 

When Henry Roche died his son and heir Henry was under age. 
Consequently the suit for dower was against those who were in posses- 
sion of the manor by right of wardship, namely, William de Burgo, 
probably Grey Sir William, the Earl of Ulster, and Richard de Lyt, 
a man of importance in Connaught Avho had been sheriff, and against 
two others in possession of portions of the land. 

Plea Rolls, 2 EdAv. II. m. 30 d. 
Agatha, widow of Henry de Rupe, for her dower, i in the manor of 


V. Wm, de Burgo, keeper of the land of the heir, for J of | of 1 vill 

in Bally blohagh, 1 vill and £1, 6s. 8d. rent in Kilglassan, | of 

1 vill in Dericoul Oughteragh, i- of £1, 6s. 8d. rent in Coolisel. 

?;. W., son of Richard Bermingham, and Elena de Rupe for h in ^ of 

1 vill in Kilcommon. 
r. R., Earl of Ulster, for \ in i of 1 vill and £1, 6s. 8d. rent in Skea- 
V. Wm., Archbishop of Tuam, for ^ of 24 acres in Kilcommon. 
V. R., Earl of Ulster, keeper of the land of the heir, for i of Id. rent 
in Synnaghcathyn, e£l, 6s. 8d. rent in Derineserchath, 3s. 4d. 
rent in Ardalas, 16s. 8d. rent in Coolcon, £Z rent in Carthy. 
V. R. de Lyt, keeper of the land of the heir, for J of 1 vill in Derinrus, 
\h quarters of 1 vill and £2, 13s. 4d. i-ent in Moneycrower, 
1 vill in Clonco, 1^ vill and <£2, 13s. 4d. rent in Skealoghan, 
1 vill in Dericoul Ighteragh. 
They all come and agree. 

The rents amount to .£14, 13s. Hd., of which only £1, Os. Id. 
was paid by members of the family. A large extent was held in 
demesne — that is, was tilled by the lord, or was let to tenants at will 
and on other than freehold tenure. The profits must have been large, 
but owing to the nature of the suit they are not disclosed. Richard 
de Burgo may be a son of the John from whom came the MacSeonins. 
Coolisel comprised Lissatava. Dericoul comprised Ballymongan. 


Carthy is now Carras. These and the names in use show that the 
manor was the parish of Kilcomnion or thereabouts. 

The barons encouraged traders to form small corporate towns by 
grants of two or more carucates of land on burgage tenure, whence 
the Irish Burgheis, surviving as Burris, an<l recording the existence of 
a small town or an attempt to form one. There is contemporary evi- 
dence of such towns in other counties of Connaught, but not of their 
existence in Mayo. The sixteenth-century tradition is given as follows : 
" The names of certain castles and market towns which were built by 
Englishmen in the county of Mayo : Shruher, Kilveen, which was 
governed by a portriffe, Ballinroblie, Castlekirke, Ballymonagh, Bures- 
Care, Bures-Owle, Ballalahame, Lehence, Mayo, Rosse, Castlemore 
MacCostelowe, which were all good market towns, and for the most 
part were ruled by portrifi'es, but now (saving the bare castles in 
some) the towns are all destroyed, whose broken gates and ruinous 
walls are this day to be seen." 

Kilveen may be Kilmaine, but is more likely to be Kilvine, where 
there is a townland of Burris. Castlekirke must be the Barrett 
Castle opposite Foxford. Rosse is probably the Ross near Killala. 
Ballymonagh I cannot identify. These towns no doubt made a fair 
start, but died out after 1338. None attained to the importance of 
Dunmore, which had a charter for murage. 



Until the Anglo-Norman settlement the appearance of the country 
was, except in one respect, much what it was at the dawn of the 
legendary period, duns, raths, cahers, cashels, and houses being very 
little altered if at all. The duns and raths of this country seem to 
have had stone facings to the sides of the earthen ditches and ram- 
parts, and to have had stone walls on the ramparts. The effect must 
have been that of stone buildings, at a little distance not differing in 
appearance from the purely stone cahers and cashels. The stone walls 
seem to have been whitened as a rule. 

Some of the smaller raths, farmhouse enclosures, were no doubt 
defended by palisading, but so many of the important forts show 
remains of such stonework when closely examined that it is safe to 
take it to have been general. In countries where stone was not so 
abundant palisading no doubt took its place, but I think palisading 
was unusual in the greater forts of Mayo. Some had a palisading of 
large flat slabs of stone. 

Inside these defences were wooden dwelling-houses and offices. 
The dwelling-houses of the country generally were round, but the 
great houses were certainly in many cases rectangular, a.nd sometimes 
two stories high. Except where there were two-storied houses, the 
buildings inside would not show much more than their roofs of thatch 
or shingle above the walls of defence. 

The cabins of the poorer folk were generally round down to the 
sixteenth century. When they were in large numbers about a dun 
they must have had the effect of a village. But there were no villages 
in the modern sense. The houses were in large or small groups, 
dependent on fortified places, or were scattered. 

The circular forts are so abundant that it is not likely that there 
were many outlying houses far from the protection of a fort or home- 
stead, except where people took their cattle to mountain pastures. 

Woods were plentiful in most parts of the country, but the richest 
lands appear to have been well cleared. What are now rough hills 
and coarse land were generally covered with wood and brushwood. 
The latber mixed with marsh and water in extensive tracts were called 



fastnesses, where people took refuge with their cattle in war, a country 
in which cattle could not easily be collected or refugees caught. 

The country was mostly free from fences, but there were fenced 
fields and gardens, which did not interfere with free passage. The 
industry of the country was grazing, and tillage was of comparatively 
small account. 

Doonoor in Levallyroe townland, to the south of Ballyhaunis, an 
earthen fort about ninety feet in diameter inside, has a rectangular 
enclosure attached to one side, and is enclosed with about twelve acres 
of land by an earthen fence and a stretch of the Curraun river. This 
fence seems to be as ancient as the fort, and encloses the water- 
course of an ancient mill. We may call this area a park or home 

In the townland of Kilgarriff in Aghamore parish is Lisnadhine 
(Lis of the Daingen), measuring about 190 feet by 120 feet inside. On 
it seem to have depended Lisnacartha (Lis of the Artisans), 200 yards to 
the north-west, and Lisanaffrin, 150 yards to the east-north-east, on low 
ground and much smaller than Lisnacartha. We may suppose Lisna- 
cartha to have been occupied by the lord's smiths and carpenters and 
the like, and Lisanaffrin to have been occupied by millers and others 
whose work required abundance of water, as a mill-stream runs by it 
and an ancient millstone lies near it. Such a connection, though but 
a guess from names and position, explains how forts are often close 

Doonoor and Lisnadhine are not to be treated as exceptional. We 
may imagine them to have been commonly i-epeated in their main 
features throughout the country, and to represent the establishments 
of the chief landowners. 

The lake dwelling was an important feature in the country, almost 
evei"y small lake having its crannog, and as many as seven or eight 
being found in a lake. Wherever a small round island with bushes is 
seen in a lake it is almost certainly a crannog. Crannogs are found 
also in marshes and bogs, which perhaps were once lakes, in some 
cases certainly. Cahers or stone forts were built on natural islands. 

In 1224 the treasures of O'Conor were kept in Loch Nen, near 
Roscommon, and not in King Torlogh Mor's stone castle at Tuam, 
where the kings of Connaught had their principal dwellings. Crannogs 
were not abandoned until after the wars of the sixteenth century. 

Giraldus Cambrensis notes that the Norwegians under Turgesius 
built castles all over the country in suitable positions. " These were 
surrounded with deep ditches, and very lofty ; being also round, and 
most of them having three lines of defences. Walled castles, the 
remains of them, and vestiges of an early age, are to be found to the 
present day, still entire, but empty and deserted. For the Irish 


people attach no importance to castles ; they make the woods their 
strongholds, and the bogs their trenches." ^ 

We must not infer that all the forts and cahers had been abandoned, 
and that the great men lived in plain houses. He refers to the great 
works regarded as fortresses, the castles then attributed to the Nor- 
wegians, expressing the fact that the Irish did not hold positions 
against a siege. 

Works of the class which he seems to mean do not exist in Mayo, 
or have not been described. Some of our larger forts may have been 
deserted, but on the whole we may take it that nearly all were still 
in use. 

The country was fairly supplied with main roads or tracks, most 
now obliterated by our roads and cultivation or covered by bog. The 
names of Togher and Ballagh record old causeways and passes. The 
Togherpatrick can be traced from Croaghpatrick to near Balla, only a 
narrow track, but enough for footmen, riders, and pack-horses. Here 
and there in rougher parts of the country other roads can be followed 
up in places, but this is the best known and best preserved. Being 
mainly a Pilgrim's Koad, it went from church to church, passing 
through the great cashels about the churches of Loona and Drum, 
halting-places of pilgrims. The country being undrained and the 
larger rivers often a succession of narrow lakes, the fords were as 
important as bridges now. The few bridges were but planks laid on 
stone piers, some of which survive in the names embodying Clar, a 

It is not unlikely that the roads were kept better in the fifth century 
than in the twelfth, as it is certain that chariots were in use down to 
St. Patrick's time. 

The one marked change since the earliest days was due to the 
growth of ecclesiastical buildings. At principal religious centres 
such as Mayo, Balla, Cong, great monasteries had grown up, occupied 
by a large establishment of monks, on whom depended great numbers 
of students. The monastic buildings were surrounded by a cashel, a 
high thick stone wall usually unmortared, enclosing a circular or oval 
area. A fragment of that of Mayo remains, from which the surveyors 
have laid down on the map an entire circuit. 

Lesser churches had smaller cashels, but those of Ross on Lough 
Mask and Moyne near Headford were upwards of one hundred yards 
across. These great cashels differed only in size from secular cashels, 
and perhaps in having lower walls. The enclosures sometimes followed 
the irregular outline of a hill, sometimes were rectangular, as at 
Loona and Drum. 

The great abbeys with huts of dependents and students must have 
1 Bobn's Antiq. Library, " Giialdus Canibrcnsis," p. 119. 


looked like towns uiuler the shelter of a castle. When we read in the 
Annals that a church was plumlered and burnt in war, we may take 
it to mean that the town was burnt, unless the church itself is 

Enclosures of small churches were sometimes but a ditch and small 
bank, surmounted by a hedge or palings or a wall. As a rule every 
church had an enclosure which was more than what we call a church- 
yard, comprising the houses and offices of the clergy, and perhaps 
small gardens. A few early churches were built inside the fort of a 
chief who dedicated it to that use. 

The Round Towers were the most striking objects in the country, 
the other Ijuildings being small and low until the twelfth century. 

The earliest known stone churches were very small, but much larger 
churches were built of wood and mud in early times. The stone 
church increased in size slowly until the twelfth-century changes 
suddenly introduced a larger style. They were so numerous that 
almost every family of high position must have had its church. How 
they were absorbed in large parishes is described in Chapter X. 

Christianity added its own features to the aspect of the country, 
without altering other things. For the mysterious pagan remains, 
such as cromlechs and stone circles and the buildings in connection 
with wells, seem to have been generally left undisturbed or adopted 
for Christian purposes. 

Cromlechs and stone circles must have been far more abundant 
than they are now. Until the house-building period and the period 
of enclosure by stone walls for cultivation, which came after the 
sixteenth century, there was seldom any reason for interfering 
with them. 

The Anglo-Norman colonists made a marked change with their 
great castles, smaller castles or manor-houses, and small towns and 
farmhouses, and their great monasteries and larger parish churches, 
as already mentioned. As the families of the lords increased the 
country became filled with their castles, whose lofty towers and walled 
courts were a new and conspicuous feature in the landscape. 

These colonists were above all tillers of the land, and must have 
marked their presence by wide stretches of ploughed lands ; but the 
change in this respect was in quantity-, as the Gael grew corn to a 
small extent, being principally a pastoral people. The new tillage 
was in open fields. This change came to an end when the small towns 
were al)andoned in the fourteenth century and nearly all the traders 
and farmers disappeared from this county. The pastoral system then 
prevailed again. 



Mayo now had general peace, broken only by small raids and risings 
of O'Conors who had not yet been expelled. 

In 1241 Maurice FitzGei-ald brought an army to Athlethan to 
subdue Tadhg O'Conor, son of Aedh, son of Cathal Crobhdei-g. 
There are indications that this Tadhg had settled himself in Leyny 
upon the O'Haras. 

In 1242 " Niall, son of Domhnall Mvlr, son of Ruaidhri O'Coneho- 
bhair, was burned, together with three O'Sechnasaighs, in a house in 
Magh-E6 of the Saxons, by Loghbhais ^ of the people of MacMavirice " 

In 1243 Richard de Burgo died at sea on his way to Bordeaux to 
join King Henry in the war against the French. His eldest son 
Richard was a minor, came of age before May 1247, and died before 
November 1248. He left no child. His successor was his brother 
Walter, who came of age in 1250. It is remarkable that every 
successor to Richard's lordship of Connaught was a minor, a mis- 
fortune to the country, because the king's officers and grantees 
tried only to get what they could out of the custody ; the country 
needed the protection which the lord gave it in his own interests. 

Meanwhile the following incidents are recoi'ded : — 

In 1246 " Maelsechlainn, son of Conchobhar Ruadh, son of Muir- 
chertach Muimhnech O'Oonchobhair, was killed by [Muirchertach] 
O'Dubhda in this year. Muirchertach O'Dubhda was banished over 
sea after this killing " (L.C.). 

In 1247 " Benedictus -MacOirechtaigh, Airchinnech of Achadh- 
Fabhair of Umhall, was killed on the festival of the Cross, the 
third day of summer, by the son of Conchobhar Ruadh, son of 
Muirchertach Muimhnech, and by the son of Maghnus, son of 
Muirchertach Muimhnech O'Conchobhair, in treachery and deceit ' 

In 1247 an O'Conor raid was accompanied as usual by a rising 
of Clan Murtough. Torlogh, son of Aedh O'Conor, and Donogh 
MacGillapatrick of Ossory made a raid by Kilkerrin and Clare- 

1 Louis (?). 

113 H 


galway as fax- as Galway, when they are said to have burnt 
the town and castle. They killed several persons, among them 
MacElget, the seneschal of Connaught, and William de Burgo, the 
sheriff of Connaught. It is not likely that they captured the castle 
itself or the walled town. After plundering there they went away, 
and were pursued by the English, who gave battle. They got away 
after killing several of the English, and went into Carra. There Jordan 
de Exeter and Clann Adam [Staunton] and the English of Carra 
assembled and drove Torlogh out of the country, as he had not forces 
enough to meet them. Tadhg, son of Conor Roe, son of Murtough 
Mweenagh, and Tadhg, son of Tuathal, son of Murtough Mweenagh, 
burnt Burgeis-chinn-trachta, Burrishoole. 

Tadhg, son of Conor Roe, is said to have burnt twenty-eight 
Englishmen in Inismor of Claenloch, which may have been the 
lake near Castlebar, but is more likel}' to have been the lake of 
that name near Dromahaire, which he is said to have captured in 
this year. It is most likely that both entries relate to the same 
event, the more so as he was killed by the MacCostellos in the 
following year, Avho were at this time fighting for the country of 
the Conmaicne of Moyrein. The annalist writes of this as a 
great war, but it was only a plundering raid. Torlogh and his 
army had to hurry along to avoid meeting the assembled forces 
of the English ; the Irish chieftains did not join him. 

The following proceedings in Umall are a continuation of the rising 
of the year 1247 :— 

1248. "The sons of Maghnus and the sons of Conchobhar Ruadh 
joined together and turned against the Foreigners, and the castle of 
MacHenry was burned by them and its constable taken prisoner ; 
and the preys of the north of Umall were taken by them to Innsi- 
Modh. Jordan de Exeter, however, and John Butler, and Robin 
Lawless, and several persons along with them, assembled and went 
to Baile-tobair-Patraic, and from thence to Achadh-Fabhair ; and 
they plundered all Umhall, north and south, on the morrow. Henry ^ 
came also, with a large army, into Umhall (for it belonged to himself, 
and he was residing in it). MacHenry then made peace with Domhnall, 
son of Maghnus, for the sake of his territory ; and Domhnall promised 
that he would furnish forces and boats to attack his brother. As 
regards the sons of Conchobhar, moreover, they wei'e on Innsi-Modh, 
and it was reported to them that a party had gone from MacHenry to 
Domhnall for boats. They advanced against this party, and killed 
O'hUain, the son of the foreign woman, and John, the son of the 
foreign priest ; and Sinnott Guer, and four of his people along with 
him, were .slain by Diarmaid, son of Maghnus, in this encounter. 
^ In the Irish thus. The translation adds Mac. 


However, this was joy with soirow, for the powei^fvil champion and 
prop of battle, i.e. Diarmaid, son of Maghnus, was slain on the spot. 
Tadhg, son of Oonehobhar Ruadh, was killed by the Foreigners in this 
year." (L.C) The Annals of Clonmacnoise name Mahon, son of 
Dermot, son of INIanus, son of ]\Iurtough, as the man who captured 
the castle which is called Tyrenmore. It is the castle of Burrishoole, 
which was on the point next north of the abbey. But it is just possible 
that there were two castles in Umall, that of Bui-rishoole and another 
belonging to ^NlacHenry. MacHenry's castle being taken, a force was 
assembled in Carra, and Henry Butler brought up a second army, 
whereupon MacHenry made the peace with Donnell O'Conor. It 
seems as if INIacHenry made a separate peace. But it is more likely 
that MacHenry detached Donnell from his confederates, who were 
afterwards defeated and compelled to submit. Henry Butler was the 
immediate lord of at least North Umall. John Butler seems to be a 
different person from JMacHenry. I think that Henry and MacHenry 
are the same person, Henry being a son of a Henry Butler, and that 
John was a younger brother of Henry. 

In the following year, 1249, King Felim's son Aedh attacked the 
English in Tireragh and brought his father into rebellion. The fight- 
ing and plundering did not spread into Mayo. But Jordan de Exeter, 
of the Gallen family, who was then the sheriff, was attacked at 
Athenry, Avhere he was in command of some forces, and inflicted a 
severe defeat on Torlogh, son of Aedh O'Conor, who, having been 
set up by the English as King of Connaught, turned upon them 

In 1251 Flann O'Lachtnan, chief of the Two Bacs, died. He was 
the last of his race who could be called a chieftain. 

In 1256 Felim and Aedh and O'Rourk were again in rebellion. 
Walter de Burgo assembled a great force, put at 20,000 at the least 
by the annalists, which marched by Mayo and Balla to Achonry. It 
was arranged that it should meet the O'Reillys in Tirtuathail, but 
the O'Reillys suffered a crushing defeat as they retreated from near 
Lough Allen on the 14th September. The de Burgo army returned 
when the campaign thus failed, but probably not until the justiciary 
had come down, as O'Roui'k made a separate peace with him, where- 
upon Aedh and Felim submitted. 

In 1258 " A great fleet came from Innsi-Gall with Mac Somhairle ; ^ 
and they passed round Erinn westwards to Conmaicne-Mara, where 
they robbed a merchant-vessel of all its goods, both wine and clothing, 
and copper and iron. The sheriff of Connaught, i.e. Joi-dan de Exeter 
went on the sea, with a large fleet of Foreigners, after Mac Somhairle 
and the fleet that had robbed the merchant-vessel. Mac Somhairle 
^ Somhairle was ancestor of the family of MacDonnell. 


was at this time on an island of the sea, having his vessel ashore ; ^ and 
when they saw the sheriff's fleet approaching them, Mac Somhairle put 
on his armour and his dress of battle and combat ; and his people then 
put on their aimour along with him. As regards the sheriff, more- 
over, when he I'eached the island, he landed promptly, accompanied by 
all the Foreigners who wei-e ready. However, the sheriff was attended 
and served by Mac Somhairle and his people ; and the sheriff was im- 
mediately killed there, together with Piers Agabard, who was a brave 
knight of hi.s people, and other good men along with them. The fleet 
of the Foreigners subsequently turned back, after their best men had 
been slain ; and ^Mac Somhairle went afterwards exultingly, enriched 
with spoils, with triumph of victory, to his' own country." (L.C.) 

In 1259 " Milidh Mac Goisdelbh mortuur est. CUlbertMac Goisdelbh 
was taken prisoner by Aedh O'Conchobhair, who plundered all Sliabh 
Lugha. He (Gilhe)-t Mac Goisdelbh) was afterwards set at large, and 
his three sons Avere taken as hostages in his place." (L.C.) 

In 1262 Aedh O'Conor broke out again. He "plundered the 
Foreigners of all the west of Connacht eastwards from Magh-E(> 
of the Saxons, and from Balla, and burnt their towns and cornfields 
from thence to Sliabh Lugha, and slew many persons between those 
places" (L.C). He sent another party to rob and burn between 
Tuam and Athlone. Walter de Burgo and the justiciary brought 
armies to Elphin and Roscommon and restored order. The site of 
Roscommon Castle was chosen, but work was not begun until 1269. 

Under 1263 the Four Masters recoi^d an invasion by O'Donnell 
whicli they associate with a plundering of Sliabh Lugha. He is 
said to have joined Aedh in ravaging Clanricard, and to have sepa- 
rated from him and to have gone home by Shrule and Ballinrobe 
and Tirawley, obtaining his demands from all. The accurate Annals 
of Loch Ce would not have ignored such a remarkable event. An 
account of a sixteenth-century raid seems to have been copied acci- 
dentally or by mistake in that year. In 1263 " Meachair O'Ruadhain 
was killed by Foreigners, in treachery, in the door of the church of 
Cill-Seiscnen " - (L.C). 

In 1264 a quarrel occurred between Walter de Burgo and Maurice 
FitzMaurice, which is said to have arisen from a dispute about lands 
in Connaught. Maurice captured Richard de la Rochelle, the 
justiciary, Theobald Butler, John Cogan, and Walter de Burgo's 
eldest son, Richard, in a church at Castledexmot, and confined them 
in the castles of Ley and Dunamase. Walter naturally seized all 
Maurice's Connaught lands. The quarrel was made up before June 
1265. Though actual fighting between Burk.s and Geraldines is not 

1 Close by at anchor (A.Cl., F.M.). ' Kilsheshnan in Killasser parish. 


recorded, it is evident that the (i[uarrel gave the Irish chieftains an 
opportunity of attacking English settlers. 

In 126-i the annalists call Walter by the title of Earl of Ulster 
for the first time. The grant of the earldom may therefore be 
assigned to this year. 

In 1265 Aedh O'Conor and O'Donnell destroyed the castles of 
Sligo, Banada, and Rathardcraibe,^ all FitzGerald castles. " A con- 
ference was held by Tomaltach O'Conchobhair, Archbishop of 
Connacht, with David Prendergast and the MacMurchadhas ; and 
a great number of the archbishop's people were slain by them on that 
day at Cill-medhoin. . . . Murchadh MacSuibhne was apprehended 
by Domhnall, son of Maghnus, and surrendered into the hands of the 
Earl; and he died in the prison." (L.C.) MacMurchadhas is pro- 
bably a mistake for MacMaurices, the Irish name of the Prendergasts 
of Mayo. Donnell of Erris was now loyal to the Earl. INIacSuibhne 
v/as an Ulsterman. Felim O'Conor died in 1265, and was succeeded 
by his son Aedh, who prosecuted the war against the English with 
great energy. In 1266 the Irish attacked the English all round. 
The facts relating to Mayo are stated in a vague way. 

" A great slaughter was committed by a party of O'Conchobhair's 
people, viz. by Lochlainn, son of Diarmaid, son of Muirchertach, 
and by MacCeithernaigh and the son of Domhnall Dubh O'hEghra, 
on the Britons and Lagenians of the west of Connacht, thirty-one of 
whose heads were presented to O'Conchobhair by them." " Domhnall 
O'hEghra, King of Luighne, occisus est whilst burning Ard-na-riadh 
against the Foreigners." (L.C.) The Britons are the Barretts and 
other Welshmen, the Lagenians are the Cusacks, Lawlesses, and other 
English settlers of Tirawley and Tireragh. This was avenged in the 
following yeai-. 

In 1267 "A great depredation was committed by the Foreigners 
of the west of Connacht on the inliahitants of Cairpre-Droma-cliabh ; 
and they plundered Es-dara. Another great depredation was com- 
mitted by Mac William Burk on O'Conchobhair, when he plundered 
Tir-Maine and Clann-Uadach." (L.C.) 

1268. " Hugh O'Murray, chief of the Lagan, was slain at Killala by 
O'Mulfovei", Coarb of the church, on a Sunday after hearing mass "(F.M.). 

1269. "Flaherty O'Maelfhina, chief of half the territory of Calry 
of Moy-h-eleog, was slain by Gaughan, chief of the other half " 
(F.M.). The castle of Roscommon was built, and that of Sligo was 
rebuilt. The fighting was outside Mayo. 

During the next two years the Irish gained some successes. 1270. 
" Sligo was burned by O'Domhnaill and the Cenel-Conaill, and the 
son of Breallach-an-chairn O'lNIaelbhrenainn was killed on this ex- 
1 Ardcree fort, in Annaglnuore demesne, Kilvarnet parish, Co. Sligo. 


pedition. A great war iiml dissension arose between O'Concliobliair, 
i.e. Aedh, son of Fedhlim, and Walter Burk, i.e. the Earl of Ulster; 
and neither the Foreigners nor the (iaeidhel could reconcile them. 
The Earl assembled the Foreigners of Erinn, together with the 
Justiciary, when they all went on a great hosting into Connacht, 
and proceeded to Ros-Comain the first night, and from thence to 
Oilfinn the second night, and from thence to Port-leice ; ^ and 
they rested and encamped that night at Port-leice. And on the 
morrow they held a council, and the resolution they adopted was, 
viz., that the Earl and the chiefs of the Foreigners of Erinn 
should then go eastwards across the Sionainn at Ath-caradh-Conaill.- 
As regards the King of Connacht, however, i.e. Aedh, son of Fedhlim 
O'Conchobhair, he was in Magh Nisse before the Foreigners, with a 
few of the chiefs of his people ; and the Justiciai*y, accompanied by a 
small number of the army, remained on the western side of the 
Sionainn, awaiting the Earl and his people. With regard to the 
Earl, after he had gone eastwards past Ath-caradh-Conaill a few of 
O'Conchobhair's people opposed them at Coillte-Conmaicne, where a 
small number of the army of the Foreigners were slain. Neverthe- 
less, the Foreigners desisted not in the career and expedition in 
which they were engaged until they reached Magh Nissi, where they 
rested and encamped that night. As to the Foreigners, moreover, 
the advice they gave to the Earl was, to make peace with O'Concho- 
bhair on this occasion, and to deliver his brother, i.e. William Og, son 
of Richard M(Jr, son of William the Conqueror, into the hands of 
O'Conchobhair's people whilst he {W Conclwhhai r) should be in the 
Earl's house arranging the 'peace. And this was accordingly done. 
And after William Og had gone into O'Conchobhair's house, O'Con- 
chobhair's people took him prisoner ; and John Duilefin ^ and his son 
were slain on the spot. When the Earl, moreover, heard that treachery 
had been practised against his brother, he proceeded early on the 
morrow to Ath-an-chip * on the Sionainn. And O'Conchobhair was 
(luring these two nights inarching round them, as a furious, raging, 
tearing lion goes about his enemies when killing them, so that he 
permitted them neither to eat, sleep, nor be at rest. O'Conchobhair 
moved on the same day. As regards the Foreigners, moreover, after 
going to the ford on the morrow, Toirdhelbhach O'Biiain overtook 
them, and the Earl himself turned on him, and slew him without 
assistance from any other person. With regard to the Connachtmen, 
however, they came up with them {tlte Foreigners) at this time, when 
their rear was dislodged, and their van was routed. In short, their 
courage was confounded in this place, and nine of their principal 

^ Near Jamestown. " Near Carrick on Shannon, according to O'Donovan. 

=' Dolphin. ■* Neai- Carrick. 


knights wei^e slain on the spot, including Richard-na-Coille and John 
Butler ; and it is not known how many more were lost there ; and 
one hundred horses, with their mail coverings, and with their saddles, 
were left there ; and William Og was killed in his captivity imme- 
diately after the son of O'Briain had been slain by the Earl. As 
regards Aedh O'Conchobhair's subsequent proceedings, he demolished 
the castle of Ath-Anghaile, and the castle of Sliabh-Lugha, and the 
castle of Cill-Calmain, and burned Ros-Comain, and Rinn-duin, and 
Uille-XJanach. And a great war arose between Brian Ruadh O'Briain 
and the Foreigners, and great depredations were committed by him 
on them, and the castle of Clar-Atha-dha-charadh ^ was taken by him. 
Depredations were committed by the Eail, and by the Foreigners of 
Connacht, in Tir-Oilella, on the people of Aedh O'Conchobhair ; and 
David Cuisin was slain on this foray." (L.C.) 

The Irish success was obtained by an attack on the rear at the 
foi-d of the Shannon, as is clearly shown in the Annals of Clonmacnoise. 
When Torlogh O'Brien was killed at the ford, " The Conaughtmen 
pursued the Englishmen and made theere hindermost pai-t to rune 
and breake upon their vaunt-guard or foremost, in such sort and foule 
discomfiture that in that Instant 9 of their chiefest were killed upon 
the bogg about Rickard ne Koylle and John Buttler, who were killed 
over and above the said Knights. It is unknowne how many were 
slaine in that Conflict, save onely that a 100 Horses with their sadles 
and other furnitures with a 100 shirts of maile were left after these 
things were thus done." The date of this fight was the 19th April. 
William Og is the ancestor of the MacWilliams of Mayo and Galway. 

The facts seem to be that as soon as the Earl knew, by the treach- 
erous seizure of his brother and the killing of the Dolphins, that Aedh 
had no intention of making peace, he rejoined Sir Robert Uffoi'd, 
losing a few men and abandoning a large number of horses, in effect- 
ing the passage of the Shannon. The English we may suppose drove 
off all the cattle they could find in North Roscommon, and then, as 
usual, retired and dispersed their armies. Aedh then destroyed three 
border castles in Corran and Costello, and burnt the houses outside 
the king's castles in Sovithern Roscommon. But he could not venture 
far from the border. Walter de Bvirgo came again and chastised 
him by plundering Tirerrill. 

Walter de Burgo died at Galway on the 28th July 1271. He 
married Evelina, daughter of John, son of John FitzGeoflFrey, the 
Justiciary of Ireland. His eldest son, Richard, succeeded him. His 
other sons had no connection with Mayo. 

As Richard was a minor the Lordship of Connaught and the 
Earldom of Ulster fell into the king's hand. 
^ Clare, in Co. Clare. 



The time of Walter de Burgo was peaceful in Mayo, save for border 
raids of no importance. The English settlement was far too strong 
for serious invasion of the more settled parts. The great FitzGerald 
manor of Sligo was not well occupied, nor was the eastern part of 
Tireragh, nor the Tyaquin country, nor the king's two southern 
cantreds, which were held by his castles. The fighting, when not 
entirely among the Irish themselves, was practically confined to these 
districts, in his time and in that of his son Richard, save for the short 
period of Brace's war. For many years vmtil the murder of Earl 
William, Mayo and most of Galway may be said to have enjoyed 
complete peace. 

Richard and his cousin Sir William, who seems to have had con- 
trol of Connaught affairs on his behalf, interfered in the O'Conor 
successions with decisive effect for the moment ; but the family fight- 
ing and murdering broke out when the heavy de Burgo hand was not 
immediately felt. 

The effect of these outbreaks on the border districts is shown in a 
remark in the inquisition taken in 1282 regarding the estates of 
Thomas FitzMaurice of Desmond, to the effect that his half Tuath 
of Kerry Lochnarney had been worth in time of peace 120 marks 
yearly, but then only 60 marks, because " the greater part is destroyed 
by the war of the Irish." 

The position of O'Conor as a tenant of the king kept up his power 
of mischief and that of his family. Had de Burgo and FitzGerald 
been free to deal with him he would have been curbed by castles and 
garrisons, and Connaught would have been saved the misery of in- 
cessant savage warfare which almost never ceased among the Irish 
inhabitants of the unsettled districts, which would have ceased if the 
O'Conors had been kept quiet. 

The death of Walter resulted in the turbulence which usually 
followed on any temporary dissolution of authoiity, to which may be 
attributed the events leading to the expulsion of the Clann Murtough 
from Mayo, and of the O'Flahertys from the barony of Clare. 

In 1272 "Henry Butler, lord of Umhall, and Hoitse Mebhrick 


were slain by Cathal, son of Conchobhair Ruadh, and by the sons of 
kings of Connacht" (L.O.). The tradition of Hosty Merrick sur- 
vives in Glenhest, to which he left his name. He is said to have 
been buried at the church in Ballyteige townland, near Lough Beltra. 
The tradition is that he was a great pii-ate, who married an O'Malley, 
and was waylaid going to his own house and killed by his brother-in- 
law. Merricks owned land in Ballyteige in the sixteenth century. 

In 1273 Jordan de Exeter killed some O'Oonors and their adherents 
in Corann ; Donnell of Erris, head of the Clan Murtough, was expelled 
from Umall and Erris ; Ruaidhri O'Flaherty was expelled from West 
Oonnaught, which then meant the barony of Clare. 

" Flann O'Tierney, Lord of Carra, was slain by the O'Murrays in a 
dispute concerning the lordship of Carra, and through the power of 
Hugh, son of Felim O'Conor" (P.M.). 

1274. "Fergal O'Caithniadh, Lord of Erris, died in Hy Mac 
Caechain" (F.M.). 

English settlers fought against each other in Tirawley, at Kilroe 
near Killala, in 1281. The Justiciary Rolls and the Annals of Loch 
Oe mention the battle, but not its immediate cause, which may have 
grown out of the claims of Adam Cusack and William Barrett of 
Bac and Glen to the land of Bredagh, under early de Burgo grants 
which gave rise to litigation in 1253. 

Adam and William met at the head of their forces for a par-ley, 
during which a man shot an arrow at the other side, whereupon both 
parties fell on each other. William Barrett was taken prisoner, 
mortally wounded, and died in Cusack's prison. Adam Fleming, a 
partisan of Barrett, and several other Englishmen were killed. 
Taichleeh O'Dowda and Taichlech O'Boyle fought with distinction 
on Cusack's side. The alliance was not permanent. Cusack killed 
T. O'Dowda at the Strand of Ballysadare next year. 

The king took into his own hands the lands of W. Barrett and 
A. Fleming. Batin Barrett paid the king fines amounting to 
£163, 8s. 8d., Gilbert Lynet paid =£33, 6s. 8d., and Adam Bretnath 
.£3, 6s. 8d., whence we may infer that the Barrett faction was in the 

In 1283 "The castle of Kilcolman [Costello] was thrown down by 
Cathal, son of Conor Roe, King of Connaught " (F.M.). 

In 1285 "A great defeat was inflicted by Maghnus O'Conchobhair 
on Adam Cusack and the Foreigners of the west of Connacht, at Lec- 
Essa-dara, where a great many persons were slain, and where Colin 
Cusack, i.e. his (Adam's) brother, was taken into captivity after his 
people had been slain, in consideration of being allowed himself to 
depart" (L.C.). 

Richard de Burgo is not mentioned in connection with the O'Conors 


and their quarrels until 128G, but thereafter regulated the succession. 
Hence seems to have arisen the quarrel with John FitzThomas Fitz- 
Gerald, afterwards Earl of Kildare, which had great consequences. 

Sir Maurice FitzMaurice's estates were divided between his 
daughters Amabill and Juliana. When John FitzThomas became 
Baron of Oflfaley he acquired from Amabill her half-share. Thus 
his Connaught possessions were half of Carberry, including Sligo, a 
third of Corran, half of Conmaicne Cuile, half of Aidhne. From his 
father he inherited the Banada part of Leyny. 

He began immediately to interfere in the O'Conor succession in 
Moy Ai, and so came into collision with the Earl. These confused 
proceedings appear in the Annals of Loch Ce, 1288-1293. 

On the 6th ])ecember 1294 John seized the Earl and Sir William 
de Burgo and confined them in the castle of Ley, near Portarlington, 
until the 12th March 1295, when they were released by order of a 
Parliament, supported by an army under the Chancellor Thomas 
Cantok and others of the King's Council. The Earl agreed to a 
truce for two years, and gave two sons as hostages. Years passed 
before aji agreement and settlement was made. 

In March 1298 Sir John surrendered to the Earl at Athboy, to be 
imprisoned in Ulster at the Earl's pleasure, and delivered to the 
Earl for a time the castle of Ley. As soon as released he was to do 
homage to the Earl and bind himself and his heirs to serve the Earl 
and his heirs for ever, saving their fealty to the King of England. 
The Earl might marry one of his daughters to Sir John's son, or 
return him to Sir John unmarried before the new year, as might 
please him. 

Sir John was to surrender to the Earl all his lands in Connaught, 
Ulster, and the county of Louth after valuation. Lands worth ^120 
a year were to be taken by the Earl as amends, and for the rest 
the Earl was to give Sir John lands of equal value in Leinster and 

It does not appear where or how long John was imprisoned. As 
he did not appoint valuers to carry out the agreement for surrender 
and exchange of lands, the case was brought before the Jvisticiar's 
Court in March 1299, when John admitted his default. 

It was agreed that his manors of Lough Mask, Dunmouhgherne 
(about Kilmainebeg), Kilcolgan, Sligo, Banada, and Fermanagh should 
be taken as the £120 a year assigned for amends, and the court 
appointed two ofiicers on behalf of each side to supervise the valuation 
and hand over the other lands, with power to appoint valuers if either 
side failed to appoint. Thus the work was done. 

Still Sir John made default. In 1301 he complained to the king 
that the valuers unfairly gave the Earl all John's lands and gave him 


none. The king called for the record, but no further proceedings 
appear. Sir John certainly lost all his lands in those countries, and 
the Earl appears to have given up all his in Mnnster except Terry- 
glass and Lorrha, the only possessions of Earl William in that province 
in 1333. The families seem to have been reconciled at last by the 
marriage of the Earl's daughter Joan to John's son Thomas in 1312. 

The Earl's power was thus very much enhanced in Connaught, 
Ulster, and Louth by the removal of the FitzGerald inflvience, which, 
associated with that of the de Clares, had been very great, and by the 
acquisition of the valuable Connaught estates and Fermanagh. The 
acquisition of manors in Munster did not enhance Geraldine power in 
an equal degree. 

In 1300 the Prendergasts and O'Flynns quarrelled. Conor O'Flynn 
slew John Prendergast. 

The Earl and Sir William de Burgo joined the king in the Scottish 
war in 1303. For his good service in Scotland the king gave Sir 
William the custody of the Kerylochnarney lands of Thomas Fitz- 
Maurice of Desmond's heir until he should come of age, valued at 50 
marks yearly. 

In 1307 Sir William was Keeper of Ireland for half a year, during 
vacancy of the office of Justiciary. 

In 1309 and 1310 he had to intei^fere in the O'Conor quarrels, and 
was for a long time in Moy Ai, originally called in by MacDermot to 
support the claim of Felim O'Conor to the succession. Though his 
irresistible force drove the rival away, he showed no anxiety to 
inaugurate Felim. MacDermot therefore did it himself. Sir William 
is said to have levied very heavy contributions ; he had to raise the 
cost of the army himself. The Annals tell us many bare facts, but it 
is evident that there were many complications which they did not 
understand, or ignored. 

Sir William played a considerable part in the wars of Thomond. 
When Richard de Burgo came of age he joined in supporting the 
claim of Brian Ruadh's son against Torlogh O'Brien. Brian Ruadh's 
daughter Finola was Sir William's wife. Later on Richard took up 
the cause of Torlogh, and Sir William appears in command of the 
de Burgo forces from Connaught. The quarrel now was in reality 
between de Burgos and de Clares, who desired to control the appoint- 
ment of the King of Thomond. Thomas de Clare's marriage to 
Juliana secured him the Geraldine interest, and afterwards half of 
the estates of Maurice FitzMaurice. The de Clare power for the 
time was shattered when Thomas was killed in 1287 and the minority 
of his son threw all his estates into the king's hand. At the same 
time it was a check to Geraldine power, and may have led to John 
FitzThomas's attempt to contiol the appointment of kings of Con- 


naught, which resulted in disaster to him. After Torlogh's death 
Richard de CUxre took up the cause of the descendants of Brian 
Ruadh. Hence Sir William came into Thomond in 1.310 and 1311 to 
support Torlogh's son Donough. In 1311 he defeated Richard de 
Clare with great loss near Bunratty, but was taken prisoner himself 
in the pursuit. On the other side two bi'others of Dermot, who was 
supported by the de Clare party, were taken prisoner. Other con- 
tests ensued in which Sir William's Connaught forces took part, until 
the cause of the descendants of Brian Ruadh was lost in the battle of 
Dysert O'Dea in 1318, when Richard de Clare and his son Thomas 
were killed. Richard's heirs were his two sisters, who were married 
to two Englishmen. Thus the de Burgo power was assured in 
Tliomond as in Moy Ai. 

In 1315 Edward Bruce landed in Ulster, and was joined by many 
Irish chiefs, who accepted him as King of Erin. The Earl of Ulster 
collected a large Connaught force at Roscommon, including Felim 
O'Couor, the young King of Connaught, and marched by Athlone to 
meet Edward Bruce. While Edward and the Earl were watching 
each other across the Bann, Edward opened negotiations with Felim, 
and oflFered to give him " undivided power over Connacht, if he would 
steal away from the Earl to defend his own province. Fedhlim 
listened patiently to these words, and agreed with Edward on that 
occasion." (L.C.) But Ruaidhri, son of Cathal Ruadh, having come 
to Edward through Tirconnell, agreed with him to make war on the 
English but not on Felim. " This was not what Ruaidhri did, 
however ; but he assembled the men of Connacht and Brefne, and 
numerous Gallowglasses along with them, and proceeded right into the 
middle of Sil-Muiredhaigh, and of Connacht likewise, and immediately 
burned the street-town of Sligech, and Ath-cliath-in-Chorainn, and the 
great castle of Cill-Colmain, and Baile-tobair-Brighde, and Dun- 
lomdhain with its castles, and Ros-Comain, and Rinn-duin, and the 
town of Ath-Luain, together with all the houses that were in every 
route through which he passed." (L.C.) Of the Silmurray only 
MacDermot, Felim's foster-father, held out against him. He got 
himself inaugurated on Carnfree and awaited Felim, plundering those 
who did not submit. Felim had really refused Edward's offer. He 
did not leave the Earl until he heard of Ruaidhri's proceedings, and 
then wanted the Earl to return with him. On his way to Connaught 
he was so harassed by the Irish of the countries he passed through 
that he had to let his chiefs go home and submit to Ruaidhri until 
better times should come for him and MacDermot. 

In the meantime Edward Bruce had defeated the Earl in the battle 
of Connor, taking Sir William de Burgo prisoner. The Earl retired 
to Connaught, where Felim and other chiefs dispossessed by Ruaidhri 


met him. MacDermot made terms with lluaidhri. Felim attacked 
O'Dowda and Dermot Gall MacDermot and other adherents of 
Ruaidhri. After a time MacDermot joined him again. In the 
course of this war Tir Enna and Tir Neachtain and Mviinter Crechain 
and Moenmoy and Aughrim were plundered, as well as most of the 
county of Sligo. O'Donnell came as far as Castleconnell. The Earl 
himself was engaged in resistance to Edward Bruce, but Bermingham 
and other lords collected a force which defeated and killed Ruaidhri 
near Tochar mona Coinnedha, and restored Felim as king. 

Thus by English power Felim was again king of the Irish of 
Connaught. As often happened before, he turned upon those who 
had made him king, with the usual results. 

The Earl ransomed William de Burgo in the summer of 1316. 
Felim's proceedings at this time are thus described : " And he after- 
wards went to expel the Foreigners of the west of Connacht ; and 
Baile-Atha-lethain was burned by him, and Stephen de Exeter, and 
Miles Cogan, and William Prendei-gjist, and John Staunton were 
slain there (viz. these were noble knights) ; and William Laighleis 
was slain there, and a countless multitude along with them.^ And 
the entire country was plundered and burned by him, from the castle 
of the Corran to Rodhba, both church and territory ; and he returned 
home afterwards with gladness, and with great spoils. And they went 
forthwith to Milic-na-Sinda and demolished the castle of Milic ; and 
Muirchertach O'Briain, king of Tuadh-Mumha, went into his house 
there, the descendants of Brian Ruadh being opposed to each othei'. 
And he turned back to Ros-Comain to demolish it. And when Felim 
heard that William Burk had arrived in Connacht from Alba, he 
commanded a muster of his people to one place, to expel him. And 
this was the muster that came there, viz. all from Es-Ruaidh to 
Echtghe. And Donnchadh O'Briain, king of Tviadh-Mumha, came in 
his following and muster; and O'Maelechlainn, king of Midhe; and 
O'Ruairc, king of Breifne ; and O'Fei'ghail, king of Conmaicne ; and 
Tadhg O'Cellaigh, king of Ui-Maine ; and many more of the sons of 
kings and chieftains of Erinn, came in his muster. And they all 
went to Ath-na-righ, against William Burk, MacFeorais, and the 
other Foreigners of Connacht, and a battle was fought between them 
at the door of the town, and the Gaeidhel were defeated there, and 
Feidhlimidh O'Conchobhair, king of Connacht, and undisputed heir 
presumptive to the sovereignty of Erinn, was slain there, and Tadhg 
O'Cellaigh, king of Ui-Maine, and twenty persons entitled to the 
sovereignty of Ui-Maine, fell there along with him ; and Maghnus, 
son of Domhnall O'Conchobhair, tanist of Connacht ; and Art 
O'hEghra, king of Luighne ; and Maelechlainn Carrach O'Dubhda ; 
^ Grace adds, " some of the Barries." 


and Muiichertncli, son of Conchobhar O'Dubhda; and Diarmaid 
MacDiarmada, who was fit to be king of Magh-Luirg ; and Muircher- 
tach, son of ])iarmaid, son of Fergbal ; and Maelecblainn Og Mac- 
Magbnusix ; and John, son of Murcbadh O'Madadbain ; and Domhnall, 
son of Aedh O'Concennainn, king of Ui-Diarmada ; and bis brotber 
Muircbertacb along witb him ; and JNIurcbadh O'Madadbain ; and 
Dombnall O'Baigbill ; and Donncbadb O'Maelmuaidb, togetber witb 
his people ; and the son of Murcbadh MacMathgbamhna, and one 
hundred of bis people along with him; and Niall Siunach, king of 
Feara-Tethbha, witb his people ; and Fergbal, son of John Clallda 
O'Fergbail ; and William, son of Aedh Og O'Ferghail ; and Thomas, 
son of Amblaibb O'Ferghail ; and five of the Clann-Donnchaidb were 
also slain there, viz. Tomaltach, son of Gilla-Christ MacDonnchaidh, 
and Murcbadh MacDonnchaidh, and Conchobhar, son of Tadbg, 
and Muircbertacb and Maelecblainn MacDonnchaidh. And John 
MacAedbagain, O'Conchobhaiv's brehon, and Gilla-na-naemh, son of 
Dalredochair O'Dobbailen, the standard bearer, and Thomas O'Con- 
allan, were slain there around their lord. And not alone this ; but 
it is not easy to tell all that were then slain of Momonians and 
Meathians, and of the men of Erinn likewise, ut dixit the poet : — 

" ' Many of the men of Erin all, around the great plain — 

Many sons of kings, whom I name not, were slain in the great defeat : 
Sorrowful to my heart is the conflict of the host of Midhe and Mumha.' 

On the day of St. Lawrence the Martyr ^ these deeds were com- 
mitted ; and Fedblimidh was twenty -three yetirs old when slain ; 
and be bad been five years in the sovereignty of Connacht when 
Rviaidbri, son of Cathal Rviadb, assumed it in opposition to him 
during the space of half a year ; and he was another half-year after 
Ruaidbri in the sovereignty until be was slain in this battle of Ath- 
na-righ. Rviaidhri-na-fedb, son of Donncbadb, son of Eoghan, son 
of Ruaidbri O'Conchbhair, was afterwards made king. A prodigious 
hosting by William Burk afterwards into Sil-Muiredhaigh, and O'Con- 
chobbair and all Sil-Muiredhaigh made peace with him, except Mac 
Diarmada alone. He afterwards went into Magh-Lviirg, and brought 
great preys witb him from Ath-an-chip and from Uachtar-tire ; and 
the entire country was burned and destroyed by them ; and they went 
away without battle or conditions. Ruaidbri, son of Donncbadb, was 
subsequently deposed from the sovereignty by MacDiarmada, after 
having been a quarter and a half in it." (L.C). 

Clyn notes that according to common rumour the whole number 
of slain was v . . . thousands, and that the number of beads cut off 
was 150U. The MS. erases the number of thousands except the v. 

1 10th August. 


The number slain was no doubt very great. It is said that the 
English ai'chers shot down all before them, and this is probably the 
truth, as the loss seems to have been trifling on the English side, 
which would not have been the case if the Irish had been able to 
come to close quarters with the English. 

It was the last effort of the Irish to drive the English out of Con- 
naught, and the only case in which there was anything like a general 
alliance of Irish kings and chiefs against the English. It was the 
best opportunity they ever had. The Earl's Connaught forces had 
already suffered a serious defeat at Connor. Edward Bruce was 
defeating the English of the other provinces, and kept them em- 
ployed. Yet so great was the effective force of the western colonists 
(for it seems to have been a purely Connaught force), and so superior 
their discipline and armament, that the Irish were ground to powder 
and could make no more effective resistance. 

Richard Bermingham held the chief command, and was made 
Baron of Athenry for this victory, which relieved the English of 
anxiety on the Connaught side. 

The lists of those who assembled and those who were slain are 
instructive. The names of O'Malley, O'Flaherty, O'Heyne, and 
O'Shaughnessy do not appear. Families of such high reputation among 
the Irish should have been mentioned if they had been present or if 
some of them had been slain. The inference is that if they were 
present they were in the English army. These families had been 
generally on the side of the de Burgos and in opposition to the 
O'Conors during the period of conquest. They had lived for many 
years in peace under the shelter of the de Burgo power, some sepa- 
rated by a wide extent of territory occupied by English settlers from 
those districts in which the Irish dwelt in then- customary condition 
of strife and robbery. It was not their interest to revive those condi- 
tions. Though the O'Maddens and some of the O'Kellys lived in the 
de Burgo lordship, yet they were in immediate contact with, and 
may be said to have formed part of, the purely Irish districts, in 
which there were only garrisons and small towns. The battle seems 
to have been between the English and those Irish who lived under 
shelter of English law on one side, and the Irish who lived under 
their own ancient customs on the other. 

MacDermot's refusal to make peace accounts for the entries in the 
A.L.C., 1317, that Meiler de Exeter, Lord of Athlethan, was slain near 
Drumcliff by O'Conors of Clan Murtough, and that Gilbert Mac- 
Costello killed a MacDermot, an O'Conor, and Manus O'Flanagan, 
with many others. 

Save on Roscommon border. Mayo now had peace until the quarrels 
of the sons of Sir William broke out. 


Sir William de lUirgo, called by the Irish William Liath (Grey 
William), died on the 11th February 1323-4, and was buried in the 
church of the Dominican Friary of Athenry. 

He played a great part in Ireland, and did good service in the wars 
in Scotland. He was the chief lord in Connaught, apparently wield- 
ing the Earl's power there, as the Earl was much occupied elsewhere. 
I cannot make out his exact position, but suppose him to have had 
very large estates, held directly from the chief lord, and as tenant of 
absentee barons who would find him a very satisfactory tenant, well 
able to hold his own. Whatever the exact relations were, he had 
land enough to enable him to take a very high position among the 
great barons, which he could not have attained only as his cousin's 
agent, and to leave his sons in such a position that they were able to 
establish a supremacy over the other settlers and to divide the settle- 
ment into two great lordships. His eldest son, Walter, took his 
place as one of the great lords of Ireland. 

The great Earl Richard, the Red Earl, did not long survive. He 
attended the Pailiament held at Kilkenny at Whitsuntide in 1326, 
" where he was somewhat crazed, and also came there all the nobility 
of the realm, to whom the said Earl made a great feast, and shortly 
after took his leave of them, and went to Athassell, where he departed 
this transitory life a little before midsummer, and there was buried " 
(Book of Howth). 

Clyn calls him " a prudent knight, witty, rich, and wise." Cer- 
tainly he was a man having abilities suited to his great position, not 
only greater than that of any other lord of Ireland, but greater than 
that of the king's justiciary. In a few years after he came of age he 
established his power over his Irish subjects and neighbours and 
secured peace generally for all his English subjects. His power 
strengthened the English law among the colonists of his lands, 
because, as the law was administered locally in almost all matters, 
his courts were effective. In his dominions he exercised the effective 
authority which the king should have exercised but did not exercise 
over all Ireland. The weakness of the country was due to the king's 
neglect, whereby he at last brought the colony to ruin. For it was 
now adopting Irish fashions rapidly. This would have been no harm 
if the king's authority had been upheld, and order, law, and justice 
made effective among the English colonists. That it was gener- 
ally effective up to this period is evident from the calendars of 
State Papers, but unfortunately it was not made universally effec- 
tive. Such offences of great men as John FitzThomas's arrest 
of the Earl Richard, Thomas de Clare's wars, the raids of the 
O'Conors and their murders were not punished by the king. Yet 
it is evident that the king could have got from the barons of Ireland 


generally the support necessary to enable him to strike such offenders 

Under Edward II. the royal power grew weaker and weaker, 
owing to mere neglect, and was abandoned at last by his successor 
wherever it was resisted. At no time since the Conquest had the 
Irish been so thoroughly beaten down as at the death of Earl Richard. 
Strong royal power only was needed to keep the country together, 
and to carry on the progress which had been made towards civilisa- 
tion of the Irish. For some certainly were adopting the civil life in 
the lands and towns of the settlers. By degrees those left outside 
such influences would have come under them when tribal wars were 


THE king's government IN CONNAUGHT. 

Richard's heir was his grandson William, born on the Svinday after 
the 14th September 1312, son of Sir John, who died at Galway on the 
18th June 1313. 

Richard's son Edmond and Sir William's son Walter were appointed 
Justices of the Peace or Governors in the counties of Connaught, 
Limerick, and Tipperary, to protect the estates of the Earl of Ulster 
in those counties, now in the king's hand by the minority of the heir. 
Edmond appears to have had large estates in Limerick and Tipperary, 
as his descendants were settled there, 

William, called by the Irish the Brown Earl, was knighted at 
Pentecost in 1328 and put in possession of his estates. He came 
over to Ireland and to Connaught in September. 

Walter de Burgo, now a knight, took the place of his father in 
Connaught as the leading baron, apparently in control of the Earl's 
power, but certainly wielding great power. In this year, 1328, 
Walter and Gilbert MacCostello held a conference with MacDermot 
and all his clan at Ath-cind-Locha-Techet, where high words passed 
and blows were exchanged, and Walter was defeated. This seems to 
have been in connection with O'Conor quarrels, for the Annals record 
that in the same year Walter plundered some of King Torlogh's 
friends. The disturbances went on in the following years. 

In 1329 Walter de Burgo led a Connaught army into Munster 
against Maurice FitzThomas, who took up the cause of Brian 
O'Brien. The war seems to have ended in the arrest of the Earl of 
Ulster and of Maurice by the justiciary, Roger Utlagh. But early 
in the following year Earl William was high in the king's favour, 
and was made the king's lieutenant in Ireland in March 1331. 

In 1330 Walter moved into Silmurray, when " A camp attack was 

made by Toirdhelbhach O'Conchobhair on Walter MacWilliam Burk, 

in Lecmagh ^ in Magh-Luirg, whom he drove from thence to Cairthi- 

liag-fada.- And Gilbert MacGoisdelbh, lord of Sliabh-Lugha, came 

1 Now Logvoy, near Carrick on Shannon, in Killukin. (O'Donovan.) 

- O'Donovan suggests it is Cnoc-a-Cartha (Knockacorha) townland in Killukin 

parish, where a pillar stone (Cloghcrora) stands, S. of road from Frenchpark to 

Camck, due E. of Cavetown, and close to road. 



with a large force to the assistance of MacWilliam Bvu-k, and 
Tomaltach MacDonnchaidh came with another force to the assistance 
of MacWilliam ; and both these armies turned against O'Concho- 
bhair until they reached Ath-Disert-Nuadan ; and a few of O'Con- 
chobhair's people were slain about the ford, . . . O'Conchobhair 
went afterwards actively, proudly, into the Tuatha ; and MacWilliam 
fixed his camp that night at Cill-Lomad, in presence of O'Concho- 
bhair. The armies of all Connacht, both Foreigners and Gaeidhel, were 
subsequently mustered by MacWilliam, with the object of seizing 
the sovereignty of Connacht for himself. A prudent, amicable peace 
was afterwards made by MacDiarmada and O'Conchobhair. . . . 
Toirdhelbhach O'Conchobhair was slain by the people of Walter 
MacWilliam Burk, whilst coming from the Earl's house." (L.C.) 

This entry is the only ground for suspecting Walter of an attempt 
to make himself King of Connaught, that is of the part of Sil- 
murray still left to O'Conor. It is not likely that he had such an 
intention. It is evident, however, that MacDermot and Torlogh 
made peace in fear of some action disastrous to them both, and that 
Torlogh went to appeal or submit to the Earl. But this Torlogh 
was not the king. 

In 1331 Walter was again in Moylurg, apparently in these pro- 
ceedings maintaining Tomaltach as MacDermot, and plundered and 
burnt all except the churches. But his proceedings were not approved 
by the Earl, and Walter rebelled. Of this affair we have but the 
annalist's entry — " The victory of Berna-in-Mil was gained over 
Tomaltach MacDiarmada, King of Magh-Luirg, and over MacWilliam 
Burk, by the Earl's son and Tomaltach MacDonnchaidh, in which a 
great number of MacWilliam Burk's people were slain" (L.C). The 
Earl's son was probably Edmond. Two of Walter's brothers, Edmond 
and Re3'mond, were taken with him. The capture is said to have been 
on 5th November, perhaps the date of the battle. In February 1332 
they were taken to iSTorthburgh Castle, where Walter was starved to 
death. Clyn says they were taken to Knockfergus Castle. It is pro- 
bable that they were taken there first ; it was called also Xorthburgh 
Castle. The castle in Inishowen, called by the Irish the New Castle 
of Inishowen, is given as the place of his starvation by the L.C. 
Annals, and it also was by the English called Xorthburgh. It seems 
to be not the Green Castle, as supposed by O'Donovan, but one more 
to the south near the head of Lough Swilly. 

This is the first instance of a de Burgo rising against a de Burgo. 
As Earl William was murdered in revenge for Walter, and as 
Edmond's murder was a further consequence, Walter's rebellion may 
be taken as the crisis of the fate of the English settlement. His 
action was a rebellion against the king and in disobedience of his own 


chief lord, but what particuLir point was made a charjj;c against him 
wo know not. It is likely that his action against King Toilogh 
became open rebellion, and that Sir Edmond de Burgo was sent 
against him in support of Torlogh, who was acknowledged by the 
king as King of Connaught, and who had loyally come to help the 
Karl with Walter's Connaught army in the war against Brian Ban 
O'Brien and Maurice FitzThomas. However, after AValter's death 
this affair was closed as regards the king, for " Peace was proclaimed 
at Ilath-Seoher, to the sons of William Burk, on the part of the 
King of the Saxons," in 1333 (L.C). In the same year " Gill^ert 
MacGoisdelbh was slain in the middlt; of his own house by Cathal 
MacDiarmada (Jail " (L.C). 

The murder of Earl William in 13.'5I3 is variously described. As 
John Clyn was nearly a contemj)orary, and must have met those who 
were well acquainted with the fact, his concise account may be taken 
as accurate : — 

" On the Gth July William de Burgo, Earl of Ulster and Lord of 
Connaught, is treachercnisly killed by his esquires (in whom he con- 
fided) near l\ nockfei-gus. The perpetrators of this crime were John 
de Logan, Rol)ert son of Richard Mandevyle, Robert son of Martin 
Mandevyle, who, however, got but short and momentary comfort from 
this; for joining themselves with the Irish (who are always used to 
l)e friendly receivei's and defenders of the persecutors of the English 
and loyal people) 300 and more of them are within two months in 
one ilay killed Vjy John de Mandevyle and a few people of the 
country. It was said that this wickedness was, as usual, brought 
about by a woman, that is (Jyle de Burgo, wife of Lord Richard de 
Mandevyle ; because he had imprisoned hei- brother Walter de Burgo 
and otheis. This Earl was very clever, a lover of the state and of 
peace, leaving an only daughter one year old." 

He was murdered on a Sunday on his way to Mass at the lowest 
ford in the Lagan at Belfast (Dr. Reeves). 

Clyn seems to be in error like others in saying he left only one 
dauirhter. The Patent Rolls in 1338 mention his daughter Isabella 
as a ward, and in 1340 mention the grant of the marriage of his 
daughter and heir ^largarot. I infer that these two ladies were twins, 
l)()rn after the date of the inquisitions taken in 1333, and that they 
died young, leaving Elizabeth as sole heiress. In 1352 she was 
married to Lionel, Duke of Clarence, and had a daughter Philippa 
wlio married ivlniund Mortimer, Earl of March. Her son Roger 
Mortimer left a ilaughter Anne who married Richard Plantagenet, 
Earl of Caml)ridge, father of Richard, Duke of York, father of 
Edward IV. Thus the Earldom of Ulster and the Lordship of 
Connaught eanie to be annexed to the Crown. 


The custody of the hite E.arl's Connaught castles and hinds was 
given to Queen Philippa. On the 5th September 1333 Sir Edmond, 
Earl Richard's son, got a grant of the Connaught possessions during 
the minority at a rent of ,£200 yearly. He and Maelseachlainn 
Mac Aedha, Archbishop of Tuam, were appointed jointly Justices of 
the Peace for Connaught. This Edmond for the time became prac- 
tically chief lord of Connaught, and not having great possessions 
elsewhere, was able to attend to his own interests. He soon met with 
opposition. The events are recorded in a very confused way, but it 
is apparent that Edmond Albanagh, who succeeded to the position 
of his brother, was fighting witli Edmond the Earl's son and with 
the Clan-Ricard Burk. The term Clann Ricaird I take to apply 
here to the descendants of Richard the first lord of Connaught's son 
Walter, who had estates in ( ialway. It cannot be said for certain, 
but I suspect that Sir Edmond Albanagh's resistance of Sir Edmond 
encouraged the Irish chieftains to resist Sir Edmond and to attack 
the English. 

1335. "John, son of Art O'hEghra, was taken prisoner by the 
Earl's son ; ^ and the principal part of his people was plundered by 
him. A depredation irax roiniaiifM by the sons of Domhnall O'Con- 
chobhair"'^ on the descendants of Maurice Sugach ^ FitzGerald, on 
which occasion the son of MacMaurice was killed. A retaliatory 
depredation was afterwards committed by the Clann-Maurice on the 
same sons of Domhnall. The West of Connacht was all destroyed by 
Edmond Burk ; a great many persons were slain and innumerable 
depredations and burnings, and injuries were also committed by him 
on the Earl's son, and on the Clan-Rickard Burk in the same year ; 
but they afterwards made peace with one another. Great snow in 
the spring, which desti'oyed the greater number of the small birds of 
all Erinn." (L.C.) 

This war appears to have been ostensibly a war between Sir 
Edmond and O'Conor. The close Rolls of Edward III. show that in 
June 1335 a friar was paid for going twice from Dublin to treat with 
O'Conor of Connaught, and in October another was paid for going to 
treat with O'Conor and with Edmond, son of Ricliard, late Earl of 
Ulster. The effective force which made O'Conor dangerous was that 
of the English who were under Sir Edmond Albanagli. From sub- 
sequent dealings it is safe to infer that the king did not wish to 
recognise the fact that an English baron was in rebellion. 

Though matters were arranged between the Edmonds, there was 
fighting in the border districts and in Roscommon, which is told as 
follows in the A. L.C. under the year 1336. The sons of Dermot 

^ Sir E'lraond. ^ Of race of Brian Luignech probably. 

3 Son of Gerald Prendergast. 


Gall, who held Airtech, and Felim O'Conor raided MacCostello. 
Maiduke, son of Waltrin MacCostello, was killed in following them. 
Edmond All)anagl> plundered the O'Flanagan country and killed an 
O'Flanagan, but a brother of Mac in Mhilidh was taken prisoner. 
MacDermot and some O'Conors of Moy Ai and of Carbury made a 
small raid into Tireragh. King Torlogh O'Conor mustered his forces 
and broke down Castlemore when MacCostello was absent. 

In 1337 King Torlogh formed a fortified camp at Ath-Liag against 
Edmond. The result seems to be told in the following entry. O'Kelly 
was a consistent ally of Sir Edmond Albanagh. " A great victory 
over Toirdhelbhach O'Conchobhair, King of Connacht, by Clann- 
Cellaigh ; and Toirdhelbhach himself was wounded there, and taken 
prisoner ; and his horse and clothes were left there by him, together 
with a great slaughter of people " (L.C.). 

"Domhnall Ruadh O'Maille and Cormac O'Maille were slain by 
the Clann-Mebhric, and by other Foreigners along with them, on 
the night of St. Stephen's festival " (L.C.). Cormac was Donnell's 

In 1338 occurred the event which showed to all men the feebleness 
of the king's government and led to open disregard of his authoi-ity, 
not in Connaught and Ulster only but all over Ireland. Hitherto 
it might be thought that the king tolerated the private wars from 
unwillingness to put forth his strength. 

The murder of Sir Edmond was a criterion of his jjower. The con- 
donation of the murder was an act which could not be attributed to 
any cause but the true one — inability to punish it. 

This very important act, the seizure of Sir Edmond, does not seem 
to have been the result of a conspiracy, but a sudden act brought 
about by the opportunity, without very clear forecast of the conse- 
quences. The affair is obscure. The more detailed account given by 
Roderick O'Flaherty is probably correct, and agrees in substance with 
the short note of the Irish chronicle : — 

"Edmond Burk, i.e. the son of the Earl of Ulster, was taken 
prisoner by Edmond Burk ; and a stone was tied round his neck, and 
he was afterwards thrown into Loch-Mesca ; and the destruction of the 
Foreigners of Connacht, and of his own family, occurred through this. 
And Toirdhelbhach O'Conchobhair assumed the sway of Connacht 
after that, and Edmond MacWilliam Burk was expelled out of Con- 
nacht ; and the territories and churches of all the West of Connacht 
were spoiled. And Edmond Burk collected a large fleet of ships and 
barks, [and] remained on the islands of the sea for a long time. 
Luighne and the Corann were depopulated and wasted, and the 
sovereignty was assumed by their own hereditary Gaeidhel, after the 
expvdsion of the Foreigners out of them." (L.C.) 


O'Flaherty's account is as follows : " During whose nonage, Edmond 
was joyned in commission with Malachias, Arch-Bishoppe of Tuam, 
for the government of Connaught ; until he was seized upon by Sir 
William Bourk, afore-mentioned, his sons, on Low Sunday, the 19th 
Aprill, in the Fryer's house of Balinrobe ; Roger de Flet, Seneschall 
of Connaught, and Nicholas Lienot, and other nobles of his company, 
being killed on the place. ,He was that night carried to Lough Measg 
Castle, the next night to Ballyndeonagh Castle, and the third night 
to that island on Lough Measg ; whither the Arch-Bishope of Tuam 
came to bring him and his kinsmen to a reconciliation : and as they 
were on points of agreements, the villains who had the custody of his 
body, a certain family of the Stantons, dispairing their own safety if 
he were set at liberty, miserably turned him into a bag, and 
cast him out of the island into the lake, with stones tied to the 
bag ; for which fact they were called Clan Ulcin ever since. Of 
this Edmond and his wife Slany, daughter of Tordellvac O'Bryan, 
L. of Tuomond, lineally descended the lords of Castleconnell and 
Bretas, with the rest of the county of Limerick Burks." (" lar 
Connaught," p. 47.) 

If he was so drowned, and there is no reason to doubt it, the body 
seems to have been recovered and buried, as a small mound under a 
small thorn tree is pointed out as the Earl's grave, in Earl's Island 
near Glentraigue. That remote mountain region was a good place to 
take him away from chance of a rescue until Edmond Albanagh could 
assemble his forces. The action of the Stauntons was decisive, and 
brought all parties face to face with a new situation. 

All Connaught must have been startled. Sir Edmond was 
evidently well frightened by what he had brought on himself, and 
at once put himself out of reach on the islands. None of the barons 
would at fii'st be very ready to support him or receive him even, 
not knowing how the king would take it. The had not to wait 
long. The fact must have been known to the kmg in a few weeks. 
And on August 12, 1338, the king made a "Grant to Edmund de 
Burgh, and Reymund, his brother, of sufferance for two years in 
respect of their adherence to certain opponents and rebels against 
the king in Ireland in the past, inasmuch as laudable testimony is 
now given as to their bearing towards him and his people there for 
some time." (Cal. Pat. Rolls Edw. III., vol. iv.) 

The matter was finally settled by the following on the 14th March 
1340: "Pardon, for their good service in Ireland, to Edmund, son 
of William de Burgh, knight, and Reymund de Burgh, his brother, 
of the king's suit against them, for the death of Edmund, son of 
Richard de Burgh, late Earl of Ulster, and Richard de Flete, and 
for all other felonies and trespasses whatsoever, and of any conse- 


quent outlawries; his suit for the death of William, late Earl of 
Ulster, and John de Scolton excepted." (Ibid.) 

Reymvmd must have had a full pardon or protection, as we find 
an order dated 10th April 1340 for payment of .£100 to Reymund, 
son of William de Burgh, the king's yeoman, charged to array and 
make ready a certain number of men-at-arms and hobelers for the 
king's service in France, and to provide ships and to pay them from 
date of embarkation. He did go to France, and sold thirteen horses 
to the king for £80 in the following October. It is probable that 
he and Edmond had no part in the murder of Earl William, and that 
the charge was kept against them in case of evidence turning up. 

This pai'don for an undoubted murder must be taken as the king's 
acknowledgment of the independence of Edmond Albanagh, of his 
abandonment of the government of Connaught. 

In this year, 1340, the castle of Roscommon fell into the hands 
of King Torlogh O'Conor. Traces of local acknowledgment of royal 
authority occur a little later, and the towns of Athenry and 
Gal way kept up their connection with the king, but practically all 
administration ceased. 

According to the A.L.C., Edmond was driven to Ulster with 
his fleet in 1339. That he was driven away is certainly not the 
case, for he returned and immediately appears in full possession 
of power in Mayo and Galway. To go to Ulster by sea was his 
safest course, as he could not be sure of safety from arrest if he 
went by land, without a very large escort, as the charge of murder 
was hanging over him. We do not know, but may suppose, that 
his object was to arrange with the Ulster Irish chiefs that they 
also should ignore the king's authority and secure their own inde- 
pendence. At this time O'Donnell was the most powerful of the 
Ulster Irish. O'Neill had been reduced by neighbourhood of the 
Ulster colony and by the formation of some demesnes in the country 
of the Cinel Eoghain ; for instance, Inishowen was occupied by the 
New Castle, and there are references to other possessions of the 
earl in Cinel Eoghain. Edmond succeeded, if that was his object. 
This much is certain, that the Irish of Ulster in future practically 
ignored the countess's claims, and that both and English 
tenants in Connaught followed the same course l:)y degrees, the 
claims of the great absentee barons within the countries known 
as the MacWilliam territories being similarly ignored, saving the 
right of the Earl of Ormond to North Umall and to Aughrim, 
which was acknowledged in the sixteenth century and continued 
into the nineteenth. The pardon of 1340 I take to be a result and 
recognition of the attitude of the principal English barons. 

Thus ended the first period of English government in Mayo. 



As the history of the county from the thirteenth to the sixteenth 
century turns much on the growth of the Bourkes, the ramifications 
of the family must be kept in mind. 

The first settler in Ireland was William de Burgo, called by the 
Irish William Conquer, who was a brother of Hubert de Burgo, 
afterwards the great Earl of Kent. William married a daughter 
of Donnell Mor O'Brien, King of Thomond. Her sisters married 
Cathal Crobderg O'Conor and Donnell Mor O'Kelly, King of Hy 
Many. The de Burgos were generally on very good terms with 
the O'Briens and O'Kellys. 

William left three sons, Richard, William, and Hubert, who was 
Abbot of Athassel and afterwards Bishop of Limerick. Richard 
became Lord of Connaught, excepting the King's Five Cantreds. 
William was Sheriff of Connaught. He had estates in Munster, 
as might be expected, and there is evidence that he had property 
near Donamon, which seems to have been the part of the barony 
of Ballymoe which was not included in the ancient territory of 
Clanconway. From his son Richard's son Walter came MacWalter 
of Tuath MacWalter. But his son William's son David acquired 
the manor of Donamon or Clanconway from the heirs of William 
de Oddingeseles, whereby the MacDavids became chiefs of their 
branch in Connaught. 

The next generation gave off the branch which became the 
greatest family of Connaught, the Clann William of Mayo and 
Galway, descended from Richard's third son William. As sons of 
Walter and William grew up, the Irish distinguished them by 
tribal names. Clanricard seems to have been used for the main 
line until the close of the fourteenth century, when the term was 
transferred and confined to the descendants of Richard Og, the 
first who bore the title of Mac William of Clanricard, or Upper 
MacWilliam. Clann William Burk became the tribe name of 
William Og's descendants in Connaught. But it was used also of 
the descendants of Earl Richard and of William the Sheriff in 


Munster. It was also used when necessary to denote all the de- 
scendants of William Conquer. 

In the beginning' of the fourteenth century there were four great 
groups of de Burgos : — 

1. Earl Richard and his descendants. 

2. Descendants of Sheriff William, called Clanwilliam in Munster, 
and afterwards Clan Sir David in Connaught. 

3. Those of Earl Walter in (lalway, called Clanricard. 

4. Those of William Og, called Clan William in Connaught. Rann 
MacWilliam was the term applied in the sixteenth century to the 
Bourkes of the Co. Mayo. 


The O'Conors of Sligo. 

Brian Luighnech's descendants lived in quiet subjection under 
their English lords, their chief dwelling at Castletown under Ben- 
bulben. Thus they found themselves in possession of the barony 
of Cai'bury and of the great castle of Sligo, which had been held 
only by a garrison and the small town about it. Sir Edmvmd's 
position obliged him to abandon all such territories as were not 
well colonised. Clann Andrias appears suddenly as a family of the 
first rank in power among the Irish of Connaught, and by degrees 
acquired a supremacy over the territories which were for that reason 
included in the county of Sligo. Their power on the whole tended 
to increase until, in the sixteenth centui-y, O'Donnell pressed them 
hard on the north and revived the ancient claim of the Cinel Conaill 
to Carbury. 

After the death of Donnell in 1395, their chief used the title 
MacDomhnaill Mhic Muircheartaigh, until in 1536 Tadhg Og assumed 
that of O'Conchobhair, being then the strongest of the three O'Conors 
of Connaught. 

Donnell's sons were ancestors of four families who divided Carbury 
into four hereditai'y estates, and quarrelled among themselves and 
with the descendants of Cathal Og. These quarrels brought the two 
Mac Williams and other lords into action from time to time. 

The O'Dowdas, 

O'Dowda was living quietly in Tireragh, and at once got possession 
of the eastern half. In 1371 he got possession of Castleconor and 
Ardnarea. It is not certain that he retained Castleconor at this 
time ; if not now, he certainly acquired it later on. But Ardnarea 


was recovered immediately, and remained Bourke property until 
the seventeenth century. O'Dowda was always under the Sligo 
O' Conors. 

The O'Haras. 
The O'Haras appear at once in possession of all Leyny, but in two 
independent chiefries, O'Hara Boy had castles at Templehouse, 
Coolany, Tullyhugh, Annaghmore, Meemlough, the north-eastern 
half ; O'Hara Reagh's castles were at Balliara near Tubbercurry, 
Belaclare (now Aclare), Cashelcarragh, and the Island of Lough Talt. 
These castles came into existence by degrees. The ancient FitzC4erald 
castle of Banada is said to have been converted into the monastery. 

The O'Garas. 
This family retained Coolavin, which was too small and poor to 
give them a position of strength. 

The MacDonoghs descended from Donnchadh, who died in 1232, a 
son of Tomaltach MacDermot, King of Moylurg. MacDonogh appears 
as MacDermot's sub-chief in possession of Tirerrill as his inheritance. 
Immediately after 1338 another MacDonogh appears as Lord of Corran. 
I suspect that this MacDermot got into possession under the de Burgos, 
as fighting for Corran is not recorded in the Annals. The MacDonoghs 
seem to have put themselves at once in alliance with the O'Conors of 
Sligo, a natural course in order to relieve themselves of a more real 
subjection to their tribal lord MacDermot. Ballymote Castle, being only 
a garrison, fell naturally into MacDonogh's hands. The MacDonogh 
lordship was one for a long time, to the extent that one was con- 
sidered to be the chief, though both used the title. 

The MacDermots. 
MacDermot lost Tirerrill about this time, but gained Airtech 
by the submission of MacDermot Gall. Another branch of the 
family was established in course of time in Tirtuathail with the title 
MacDermot Roe, but it was not powerful. MacDermot was always 
the most powerful of the Silmurray chieftains. He took up the 
cause of O'Conor Roe. 

The O'Conors and the Silmurray. 
The partition of 1236 drove the principal O'Conors, save Clan 
Andrias, Clan Murtough Mweenagh, and Clan Manus, into the King's 


Cantreds, where they were further penned up in Moy Ai by the king's 
assumption of direct management of those of Tirmany and Omany 
after 1249. The old chiefs of tlie Silmui-ray and of the Three Tuaths 
lost importance as the royal family settled among and over them. 
O'Conor now got the sovereignty of Roscommon County north of 
the baronies of Athlone and Ballymoe. Ballintubber Castle had been 
let decay, and fell into his hands at once. Roscommon was soon 
taken. The family quarrels weakened the O'Conors steadily until 
the sovereign title was extinguished in the sixteenth century. 

The O'Kellys. 

The O'Kellys, who seem to have been always in possession of all 
or nearly all Tiaquin barony, now appear in possession of those of Ath- 
lone, Killian, Kilconnell, Clonmacnowen, and Moycarne. O'Murray, 
O'Fallon, and O'Concannou were among them. They must be sup- 
posed to have come into possession first as tenants of the absentee 
English lords, for these territories were let out entirely to absentees 
by the king. Sir Richard de Exeter formed a large estate about 
Athleague, and built a castle there, but neither he nor his son or 
grandson lived there ; they were ofiicials. The Butler estate was held 
by a castle at Aughrim. There was no considerable settlement of 
English nor any resident English lord. The O'Kellys were the best 
tenants that could be found in the circumstances. All the important 
O'Kelly families who inhabited the last five baronies descended from 
Donnell Mor, the King of Hy Many who died in 1224. 

Thus O'Kelly found himself in a very strong position in 1338. He 
was usually in close alliance with the Lower Mac William. 

The O'Maddexs. 

O'Madden had been a faithful adherent of the de Burgo lord, and 
had been a great tenant under him. His position now became one 
of independence, but following the tradition of his family, he remained 
on terms of close friendship with the Burkes, which secured the 
Silanmchadha against the revival of ancient claims of sovereignty 
by the King of the Hy Many. 

O'Shaughnessy and O'Heyne had considerable estates in the 
barony of Kiltartan, which originated in the time of .the FitzGerald 
lordship. As the few settlers in Ardrahan and other places dis- 
appeared, these families took their places. But they had no in- 
dependence, and were included in Clanricard. 


The O'Flahertys. 

O'Flalierty -seems to have been a tenant in chief of de Burgo. 
This fact and the wildness of his country gave him complete in- 
dependence. The rise of English power and the weakening of the 
Lower Mac William in the sixteenth century gave the O'Flahertys 
more importance than they had during the preceding period. 

By some unexplained transaction in the third quarter of the cen- 
tury, the barony of Ross was put under O'Flaherty. It was probably 
that by which he acquired the castle and lands of Ross as an eric 
from the Bourkes. 



Edward II. 's feeble government let Ireland get out of hand, and 
in consequence the great lords were fighting among themselves. 
The young Earl of Ulster helped the justiciary to regain control 
under the new government. The general disregard of the king's 
authority led Sir Walter Bourke to treat his own lord with like 
contempt, with disasti'ous results to himself. The Earl's treatment 
of Sir Walter taught his other subjects the difference between the 
King and the Earl, and secvired peace in his dominions until his 

The Earl's death was followed by the vesting of his power in the 
king's hands by right of wardship, and its disappearance. His uncle, 
Sir Edmond, had but limited power. Factions arose, and war broke 
out in 1335. The cause of quarrel does not appear, but Clanricard 
sided with Sir Edmond against Sir Edmond Albanagh. We may 
suspect, rather than infer from known facts, that Sir Edmond 
Albanagh and Clanwilliam resisted the lawful rights of the Crown. 
The only indication is the fact that Sir Edmond Albanagh destroyed 
West Connaught. Sir Walter, as eldest son of Sir William, should 
have succeeded to the bulk of his estates according to the law and 
custom of the time. Where they lay is not clear, but Sir Walter is 
described as of the diocese of Annaghdown. It is likely that the 
Earl tried Sir Walter in his court, and forfeited his estates before 
starving him to death. Thus the war is likely to have arisen over 
the possession of Sir Walter's estates in the barony of Clare ; or 
regarding the wardship of his daughters, if they were under age. 

The murder of Sir Edmond forced a clearing up of the position. 
The king did not punish it, treating it as matter for compromise, and 
neglecting to maintain the rights of the Earl's daughters, his wards. 
The great absentee lords of estates within the lordship of Connaught 
were too busy fighting with each other to spend their forces in 
attempts to subdue Connaught. Thus all Ireland realised the truth 
that Clann William Burke and their allies and the Irish chiefs could 
hold their own. 

All the settlers wei-e not on Clann William's side. Clann Maurice 


and Olaun Fheorais and Clann Ricaii-d opposed them at first. From 
1342 onwards the supremacy of Clann William was acknowledged in 
the person of Sir Edmond Albanagh. The great English lords who 
held directly from the lord of Connaught divided their allegiance 
between the two Mac Williams, and in course of time paid rent and 
military service to the ]\Iac Williams in several cases. In the division 
the Mayo lords went with MacWilliam Eighter, except Prendergast ; 
the de Berminghams and all the Galway lords went with MacWilliam 
Oughter. The great Irish lords like O'Kelly, O'Madden, the MacDer- 
mots, MacDonoghs, and O'Conors became really independent, but 
O'Heyne, O'Shaughnessy, and O'Malley became dependents of the 

MacDavid had not been included in the lordship of Connaught in 
respect of Clanconway, and consequently claimed independence in 
1576, but in fact did pay head rent to the Earl of Clanricai'd. 

The garrisons of castles in Corran, Leyny, Tireragh, and Carbury 
seem to have been withdrawn, save that the Bourkes for a long time 
held Ardnarea and Castleconor and the lands along the Moy. The 
O'Haras became lords of Leyny, O'Gara lord of Coolavin ; MacDonogh 
took possession of Corran, if he was not already in possession as tenant; 
MacDermot Gall remained in Airteach, and O'Flynn in Sil-Maelruain. 
The O'Conoi's seized the rest of the de Burgo possessions in Ros- 

The O'Kellys seem to have been always in possession of nearly 
all the barony of Tiaquin, and they occupied as tenants of absentee 
English owners the parts of the cantreds of Tirmany and Omany not 
occupied by O'Murrays and O'Fallons. The Annals do not show 
grounds for supposing that the castles were taken by force, except 
Roscommon. The English townsmen and fai-mers had to abandon 
town and country as soon as the conditions necessary for the con- 
tinuance of civil life disappeared, or else they sank into the mass 
of Irish population. Aughrim Castle was longer in English occupa- 
tion, but was at last made over to the O'Kellys by the Earl of 
Ormond. There was no occasion for fighting, as the absentees did 
not attempt to recover possession. 

Histories usually tell us that the king lost Connaught because 
Edmond and Ulick rebelled, renounced English law and dress and 
adopted Irish customs and dress, and seized the estates of the 
Countess of Ulster, which they divided. This seems to be a con- 
fusion with the action of Ulick and John, sons of the Earl of Clanri- 
card, who broke their pai'ole in 1577. The records show no sign of 
rebellion against the king. The king's pardon in 1340 shows that 
Sir Edmond was not held to be in rebellion, possibly because the king 
found it inconvenient to call him a rebel. His action legally affected 


the lordship of Connaught, not the sovereignty. But he was in fact 
a rebel against the king and his law. He and his descendants, the 
MacWilliams, were always ready to acknowledge the king's supremacy, 
but what they had they kept, and the acceptance of their submissions 
served only to acknowledge their possessions. 

No contemporary authority refers to a formal adoption of Irish 
customs and renunciation of English law. The change was gradual 
and of necessity, and was complete in Mayo at the close of the 
fourteenth century. But the succession to the MacWilliamship of 
Clanricard followed the law of primogeniture until the beginning of 
the sixteenth century. The court of the king and the court of the 
Lady of Connaught could not work, as no force was behind them after 
1340. They were withdrawn. 

An attitude of rebellion is inconsistent with the pardon of 1340, 
and with the king's letter of 13-1:4 asking Edmond de Burgo to bring 
twenty men-at-arms and fifty hobelers, and with his letter of 1347 
asking Edmond and his brother Reymond to bring ten men-at-arms 
and sixty hobelers for the war against the King of France. 

From time to time the king tried to assert himself in Connaught. 
Ulick of Clanricard rebelled in 1388. In 1390 the Bishop of Clon- 
macnoise and T. Hill held a sessions at Ballinrobe as justices in 
Connaught. This is probably the circuit referred to by the bishop, 
who reported to the Council that the sheriff, Lord Athenry, refused 
him an escort, that he had to pay £10 in silver to O'Kelly's son for 
an escort, that he had to live at his own expense, besides the refresh- 
ment that Thomas Bourke gave him, for more than half a year. The 
Council allowed him ten marks. Hence it seems that he was in Con- 
naught only upon suffei'ance. Thomas was made Justice of the Peace 
and knighted at the close of his life. 

In 1403 "William, or Ulick, of Clanricard, being then senior 
MacWilliam, was made deputy for Connaught, and empowered to 
receive for the king the customs, &c. during the minority of Edmund, 
Earl of March. Thus, by abstaining from treating the MacWilliams 
as rebels, the king kept up the form of supremacy until the lordship 
of Connaught merged in the Crown in the person of Edward TV. 

It is clear that Edmond and Ulick did not at once divide 
Connaught. Edmond and Clan William beat down resistance in 
1342. Clanricard rose again in 1349 in support of Richard, son 
of Sir Edmond the Earl's son, and suffered serious defeat by Edmond 
Albanagh and Bermingham. In 1355 the English of West Connaught 
defeated Edmond, and Richard Og defeated him. In 1366 Clan Ricard 
took up the cause of Clan Maurice, who were driven out by Edmond, 
who brought a great force into Upper Connaught, spent three months 
there, and thoroughly subdued Clan Ricard, who gave him hostages. 


Sir EdmonJ constantly fought for and maintained supremacy over 
the English settlers. He and his son Thomas are alone allowed the 
title " Mac William " in the Annals of Loch Ce. In the Annals of 
Clonmacnoise, in the year 1380, Thomas and Richard Og are called 
MacWilliam Inferior and Superior. In 1386 the Annals of Loch Cu 
allow to Richard Og the title " MacWilliam of Clanricard." Two 
MacWilliams were created on the death of Sir Thomas in 1401 ; but 
Walter admitted the superiority of Ulick of Clanricard as the senior. 
In 1508 the union of chui^ches with the wardenship of Gal way was 
confirmed by Theobald Bourke, as chief of his nation, being then 
senior of the two MacWilliams. 

The lordship of MacWilliam seems to have been truly one as long 
as Edmond Albanagh lived, and to have been ostensibly one up to 
the death of Thomas. 

Sir Edmond's claims rose as his position became stronger. They 
seem at first to have gone no higher than something in the nature of 
claim to succession, and to have grown into a claim of superior lord- 
ship over the English of Connaught, which he made good. 

The Bourkes and the other great barons of Connaught were still 
Anglo-Normans by education, and so were their descendants in a 
lessening degree until they became fully hibernicised, as appears 
from the history of the Bourkes and of their O'Conor, O'Kelly, 
MacDermot, and O'Brien neighboui-s. The former kept as much as 
they could to themselves, fighting only to suppress rebellion or to 
help their allies — that is, to preserve the balance of power in Con- 
naught — and abstained from raids having no object but plunder, and 
succeeded each other in the lordship peaceably according to rule of 
succession ; which was, among the Lower Bourkes from the fourteenth 
century, that the eldest surviving son of a MacWilliam should succeed, 
and among the Upper Bourkes until the sixteenth century the rule of 

In the beginning of the sixteenth century they were so thoroughly 
hibernicised that they fought for the succession like their neighbours. 

The establishment of the MacWilliamship and of the palatine juris- 
dictions of Ormond and Desmond coincide in time and were similar in 
results, namely, the disappearance of the authority of the king's courts 
and the general adoption of Irish customs, with the consequent absence 
of administration of law and steady impoverishment of the people. 
In the former case the king's courts were set aside by force ; in the 
latter he covered his weakness by granting his jurisdiction to the 
great lords. He gave Ormond and Desmond what MacWilliam 




EdmoxXD I., 1340-1375. 

The MacWilliamship may be most conveniently dated as commencing 
with this year, because it had then become apparent that Sir Edmond 
need not fear that the royal power would interfere with his plans. 
All the Anglo-Norman lords in Mayo seem to have accepted his 
supremacy, which may be considered as a continuation of the power 
which his brother and his father had wielded under the authority 
of the chief lord, except the Clan Maurice. This family did not submit 
without fighting, and carried down to the sixteenth century the memory 
of this contest, for they then asserted that by right their allegiance 
was due to the Earl of Clanricard. 

How the quarrel broke out does not appear, but it is not unlikely 
that they sided against Sir Edmond in some more general quarrel, 
such as that of the O'Conors in the following year. All that is 
known is in the following notice : "A great defeat was inflicted by 
MacWilliam Burk on the Clann-Maurice, on which occasion Thomas 
MacMaurice, and Maurice son of Seonac Ruadh, and seven score 
persons along with them, were slain " (L.C., 1341). 

During this century and for some time longer Connaught politics 
were much affected by the rivalry between the descendants of King 
Felim, who was slain at the battle of Athemy, and his brother. King 
Torlogh, and his descendants, who from this time forth were almost 
always fighting for the kingship, which they divided in 1385, without 
securing permanent peace. Four strong factions of O'Conors were 
now divided into two parties — that of King Torlogh, ancestor of 
O'Conor Donn, who was supported by the Clann Andrias of Sligo ; 
and that of Aedh, son of Felim and nephew of Torlogh, ancestor of 
O'Conor Roe, who was supported by the Clann Murtough Mweenagh, 
which was now settled in Brefne, but afterwards quarrelled with 
O'Rourk and disappeared in the fifteenth century. 

Torlogh's party was supported by MacDonogh and INIacDavid, and 
often by Clanricard. 

Aedh's party was supported by MacDermot and by Edmond 



Albanagh and the Lower Mac Williams, and generally by 0' Kelly. 
Aedh's wife was a daughter of Walter Burk. 

This ai'ray lasted in a general way for many years, and was 
mainly the source of the political relations of the great powers of 
Connaught. Walter Burk began the quarrel with Torlogh which 
Edmond carried on. 

The war broke out in 1342. In the course of it " An ugly act of 
treachery was committed on the Clann-William-Burk at the instiga- 
tion of O'Conchobhair, when Thomas Burk was slain by the Clann- 
Maurice while in their own assembly ; ^ and Seonin Burk was slain in 
the same way by the Clann-Rickard " (L.C.). The result of much 
fighting in the O'Conor country was that Torlogh was deposed by the 
Silmurray and MacWilliam, wdio made Aedh, son of Aedh Breifnech, 
king on the first Monday of winter, and made Felim's son Aedh the 

This result was reversed in 1343. Torlogh returned, resumed the 
sovereignty, and passed it on to his son Aedh at his death in 1345. 

In 1348 Edmond drove out the de Berminghams, who repaired to 
O'Conor. But they must have submitted, as they helped Sir Edmond 
when Richard, son of Edmond, son of the Earl of Ulster, invaded 
Connaught in the south, assisted by the Clanricard. Sir Edmond 
took Richard prisoner and killed some of his Burke allies. Richard 
died of the plague in the same year. 

In 1355 Richard Og, who was afterwards the first called MacWilliam 
of Clanricard, comes into action in a quarrel with the O'Maddens, who 
were helped by Sir Edmond, whose household was defeated in a battle 
in which Stephen MacJordan, Henry MacPhilpin, and sixteen O'Mad- 
dens were slain. Sir Edmond and Cathal Og burnt Tuam. This was 
but a temporary alliance, if Cathal Og was the Sligo O'Conor who in 
1360 invaded Tirawley and destroyed many houses and churches. 
Cathal Og's raid was well punished in the following year, when Sir 
Edmond and Bermingham brought up an arm)' which wasted Leyny 
and Tireragh. 

In 1366 Sir Edmond again came into conflict with the Clan Maurice, 
who fled to Clanricard, where their cause was taken up. Edmond 
and Aedh, son of Felim, who was now King of Connaught, and 
O'Kelly invaded Clanricard, which was subdued after three months 
of warfare, and gave hostages. 

In 1367 he intervened in the O'Conor Sligo quarrels. Donnell and 
Teige were the rivals. Donnell had the help of MacWilliam and 
MacDermot and MacDonogh and O'Rourk. Edmond operated in 
Leyny, where he captured John O'Hara and William O'Malley. Other 
forces dealt with Teige, whom they pursued to the Strand of Ballysa- 
1 And William Burk (A. CI.). 


dare, where they killed 150 of his Gallowglasses under ]\[acDonnells 
and MacSweenys and MacSheehys. Donnell and Teige now divided 
the country. 

After the decay of English power the bands of Gallowglasses be- 
came an important Irish institution. Tliey originated in bodies of 
mercenary Scots brought in by the MacDonnells of Antrim, who were 
hereditary constables — the name given by the Irish to commanders of 
these bands. These men were carefully chosen, well drilled, and well 
armed, and being under strict discipline, fought with great determina- 
tion, often refusing to flinch, and being killed to the last man. 

The maintenance of such a body very much increased the power of 
an Irish chieftain over his sub-chiefs and his relations. Owing to the 
difliculty of making punctvial payments, lands were in time assigned 
as pay to the constables, whose forces in these circumstances soon fell 
to the average Iiish standard of eiiiciency. The MacDonnells,*called 
Clandonnell Gallowglass, and their relations the MacDougalls were 
the great Gallowglass family of Ulster and Connaught and Leinster. 
MacSweenys took up the business in Ulster and Connav;ght, and 
MacSheehys in Munster. In later times Clandonnells were engaged 
by the Lower MacWilliam. 

In 1371 Donnell O'Dubhda attacked the English of Tireragh and 
took Castleconor and Ardnarea Castle. He is said to have parcelled 
the land out among his people, but this is an exaggeration. Ardnarea 
was always a Bourke castle. 

Sir Edmond died in 1371. He was a man of unusual ability and 
determination, who acquired supremacy over all the English settlers 
of Connaught and took a leading part in the quarrels of his Irish 
neighbours ; he was too strong to be much troubled by his enemies, 
who could do no more against him than a small raid. 

Thomas I., 1375-1401. 

The succession of Thomas to his father, Sir Edmond, marks the 
declension from English law. His elder brother, William Saxonagli, 
left a son whose right according to English law was ignored in favour 
of Thomas. He succeeded only partially to his father's position. 
Though he seems to have been acknowledged as the one MacWilliam, 
there is no doubt that in his time Richard Og became an independent 
MacWilliam and lord of the parts of the county of Galway commonly 
called Clanricard. Thomas's dominions weie the county of Mayo and 
the barony of Ross, and some land about Ardnarea and along the east 
bank of the ^loy. From want of ability to control his people and the 
barons who held under him, and from the general weakening of his 


country caused by the absence of that fairly good administration of 
law which had made his grandfather and uncle and father so powerful, 
and which died with the separation from the king's courts and autho- 
rity, and by the wars which his father had been obliged to wage in 
his new position, he failed to protect his country efficiently from his 
enemies, who repeatedly entered and destroyed and plundered to the 
heart of it. Though he could I'etaliate, that was no compensation for 
the loss of security which, during this and the following century, 
reduced the lands of the English lords to the level of those of their 
Irish neighbours in poverty and disorder. 

The lesser lords becoming equally independent in their own sphere, 
the dissolution of authority progressed rapidly. They began to fight 
with each other and in their own families. The absence of superior 
authority rendered this inevitable ; there was no other way of settling 
a dispvxte when one of the parties was unwilling to refer to an 

In one important point the Bourkes and the English lords differed 
from their Irish neighbours. Those neighbours were not called in to 
help against members of their own family in family quarrels. For a 
long time they managed to settle them without fighting. 

In 1377 Thomas and O'Kelly joined MacDermot against Ruaidhri 
O'Conor, King of Connaught, who defeated them when they attacked 
him at Roscommon Castle, killing Thomas's brother Richard and 
Hubert MacPhilpin and Henry MacPhilpin. 

A war now broke out between the Sligo and Mayo chieftains, which 
seems to have originated in O'Conor quarrels. But as usual we have 
only fragments of information, notes of important events. Jordan de 
Exeter, lord of Athleathan, and John de Exeter were killed in a 
battle at Athleathan, in which the Lower MacWilliam defeated the 
Upper MacWilliam. The people of Gallen killed Mui'tough O'Hara. 
This was in 1380. 

In the following year Donnell O'Conor of Sligo, MacDonogh, 
O'Dowda, and O'Hara burnt Mac William's country up to Carnglas and 
Belantondaigh,! and fi'om Ballinrobe to Shrule and Killeenbrenin, 
and Cormac MacDonogh carried off the preys of John Bourke's sons 
up to Umhall. Carnglas must be on the Moy, whose estuary was 
called Inverglas. The Clan Donogh also broke down the castle of 
Athleathan and carried its gate away to Ballymote. The Clan 
Costello killed Teige MacDermot Gall. 

In 1382 Clan Maurice plundered Corcamoe, and killed O'Concannon 
who pursued their prey. Conor Og MacDermot invaded Clan Maurice, 
who had notice and were ready. Nevertheless MacDermot reached 
the town (of the Bree?), where he burnt the buildings and corn and 

^ Not identified. 


slew many, and returned safely. It is not to be supposed that Thomas 
Bourke looked on quietly, but none of his actions are recorded. 

At the death of Ruaidhri O'Conor in 1384, Torlogh Roe was set up 
by the chiefs of Silmurruy, Clan Murtough Mweenagh, MacDermot, 
and Mac William Burke. Torlogh Og was set up by O'Kelly, Donnell 
MacMurtough of Sligo, MacDonogh, and MacWilliam of Clanricard. 
This is the usual array of parties, except that O'Kelly has changed 
sides, perhaps because his second wife was a daughter of the late 
King Torlogh, uncle of Torlogh Og, and Torlogh Og was himself 
married to Grainne, O'Kelly's daughter. But it is not quite certain 
that this king is the Torlogh Og who was that Grainne's husband. 
Thus a general war broke out. It is impossible to make out the 
sequence of events, but all Connaught suffered from raids. The 
attacking party made preparations as quietly as possible. If successful 
they got off with their plunder before the enemy assembled in force, 
or cari'ied off the plunder in spite of opposition. When they got 
home and dispersed a similar raid was made on them, or a neighbour 
raided their country during their absence. Cattle were driven back- 
wards and forwards. An invader in sufficient force might secure sub- 
mission and payment of cattle. But no one was effectively subdued. 

The year 1385 was disastrous to Mayo men. MacWilliam invaded 
Tireragh and marched up to Sligo Castle. Donnell MacMurtough 
O'Conor of Sligo invaded and burnt Tii-awley and carried off prisoners 
and plunder. 

Cormac MacDonogh wasted Clann Cuain, but MacWilliam came 
against him and turned his men out of Castlebar. The MacDonoghs 
who went to plunder Carra were defeated, and lost many men at the 
hands of the Stauntons and others and the sons of Cathal Og. They 
diove their preys as far as the mountain of Carra, which I take to be 
Knockspellagadaun or Slieve Carna, where they killed them, and were 
themselves driven into Kilconduff and surrounded. But they escaped 
in the night. 

The result of the fighting was that the Silmurray were divided 
under two O'Conors. Torlogh Roe adopted the name of O'Conor Roe. 
The chief castle of this branch was at Tulsk. Ballintubber Castle 
appears to have been in after times held by whichever O'Conor was 
strongest. Torlogh Og took the name of O'Conor Donn. Roscommon 
was his chief castle, but in this partition he got also that of Ballin- 
tubber. O'Donovan thought that " Donn " was the old Irish word 
meaning Lord, and that it wns adopted to mark his claim to be con- 
sidered as the head of the chief line of the family. The peace was but 

In 1386 Donnell MacMurtough O'Conor, the MacDonoghs, the 
O'Haras, and O'Dowda invaded Tirawley. They killed Robert of 


Dun Domnainn (or MacRoberfc, A.U.), a Barrett, and Maigeog Gallda 
and MacMeyler of Corran, who was probably a Bourke of Curraun 
Achill. They took Lynot's Castle and cut down the orchards of 
Iniscoe and Caerthanan, now Castlehill. O'Conor Roe and his men 
came to Mac William's help and plundered all Tireragh. They then 
went to plunder Clanricard. O'Brien brought an army to help Mac- 
William of Clanricard, and they came up with O'Conor Roe, who 
turned on them and defeated them. 

The result of the war was that the two O'Conors made peace, and 
that Thomas Bourke, Mac William Bourke, submitted to Mac William 
of Clanricard so far as to acknowledge his superiority as senior. 
MacFheorais, Lord Athenry, also acknowledged his supremacy. 
Thomas had been losing power since his accession, when he seems 
to have succeeded to Sir Edmond's position so far as to be acknow- 
ledged as sole Mac William, or to have assumed the position. Thomas 
now resigned this pretension, accepting Richard Og as a Mac- 
William and as head of all the Burkes, in virtue of the fact that 
Richard had been acknowledged as a MacWilliam by his portion of 
the lordship from a date before Thomas's accession. This submission 
regulated the superiority in future. The superiority, however, seems 
to have been only formal and titular, but the settlement probably 
involved the abandonment of claims to anything more on either side. 

The death of Richard Og in 1387 made Thomas the senior Mac- 

The O'Conors being at war as usual in 1388, MacWilliam advanced 
to Glendaduff in the mountains to act against MacDonogh. Teige 
O'Dowda carried off plunder from Addergoole. This must have been 
the Addergoole in the Coolcarney country, and the affair was pro- 
bably only a petty skirmish and seizure of a few cattle. We know 
no more of Thomas's operations. For a few years the peace of Mayo 
was broken only by petty internal disturbances. 

In 1393, the narrow neck which joined Dunros in Tirawlej- with 
the mainland being broken away by the sea, the men were brought 
off by means of ships' cables.^ This may have been the Ross forming 
the eastern side of Rathfran Bay. 

When Richard II. came to Ireland in this year, Thomas Bourke 
made a formal submission to him and was knighted. 

In 1394 John de Exeter's sons killed Mac Jordan treacherously in 
his castle. In the following year MacJordan was taken prisoner by 
his own clan, and was put in the hands of Sir Thomas. Donnell 
O'Conor of Sligo came to Mac William's country with an army, and 
MacJordan was released, and peace was made. From the meagre 
entry made by the Four Masters, we may infer that the family 
1 MacFirbis, quoted by O'Donovan ; F.M., 1893. 


quarrel among the de Exeters was referred to Sir Thomas, and that 
Donnell thought it a good opportunity to attack Sir Thomas. But as 
O'Donnell also thought it a suitable time to invade Sligo, Donnell 
made peace Avith Sir Thomas. 

As MacWilliam had taken up the cause of Cathal Og's sons, Donnell 
was opposed to him during his warlike and successful life, which ended 
a week before Christmas. From him his descendants, the O'Conor 
chieftains of Sligo, took the name of MacDomhnaill Mic Muirchear- 
taigh, used until 1536, when the name of O'Conor was used instead. 

The O'Conor quarrels kept all the country in a turmoil. It is 
impossible to make out the course of events certainly, but they seem 
to have gone as follows in the year 1396. Robert Barrett was a 
rebel, but it does not appear why. The sons of John de Exeter 
were also in exile, pi"obably on account of the murder of the late 

The Clan Donogh and Robert Barrett and John O'Hara's sons went 
to plunder INIacWilliam's country, and were joined by the Clan Maurice. 
MacWilliam and MacFheorais came up with them at Knockoconor, 
and killed two of John O'Hara's sons and Maghnus Fionn O'Conor. 
Richard MacMaurice's sons were plundered, and one of them was 

Having dealt with this raid and rising, a larger effort was made. 
MacWilliam, O'Kelly, MacFheorais, O'Conor Roe, O'Conor Donn, and 
Clanricard marched into the Sligo country against Murtough O'Conor 
and in behalf of Cathal Og's sons. This was during a peace between 
O'Conors Donn and Roe. The first four went through Gallen and 
plundered around Ardnarea. Bishop O'Hara was wounded by John 
de Exeter's son in an unsuccessful attack made by MacWilliam on 
John O'Hara. The bishop died within the year. 

The other party attacked Ballymote, where they lost a Clan David 
Burke and others, and many horses, in burning the place, but killed 
some of their enemies. 

The result of this attack in great force, and perhaps also of the 
burning of >Sligo by O'Donnell, was that Murtough O'Conor submitted 
to O'Conor Donn and gave his son as a hostage, and that O'CMnor 
Donn built a fortress at Tobercurry. The object of the exj^edition 
was attained, the reduction of the power of Murtough. But the 
ari-angement was not permanent. 

O'Flaherty has recorded a curious incident under this year, that 
William Bourke, a great-grandson of Sir Redmond, attacked Bishop 
Barrett at Anachdubhan, and killed his son Richard, and burnt the 
whole town. The place is the island called Annagh in the east of 
L. Con, which had been a seat of the O'Dowda kings. A Thomas 
Barrett was Bishop of Elphin at this time. If we read " Edmond " 


for " Redmond," this William would be the grandson of William 
Saxonagh who died at Iniscoe. 

Sir Thomas joined with O'Conor Roe in the battle of Kinnitty in 
the following year, when the O'Conor Roe forces surprised Mac- 
Donogh, who had come to join the O'Conor Donn party. MacDonogh 
and his Tanist were killed, with many others. Murtough O'Conor 
was much weakened by this affair. 

In the two following years Sir Thomas again attacked Murtough, 
advancing to Sligo and Carbury in the interests of Cathal Og's sons. 

Sir Thomas died in 1401. 

The county of Mayo may be said to have acquired definite shape 
in Sir Thomas's reign as the lordship of Sir Edmond Albanagh's 
descendants, which was neither increased nor diminished until the 
lordship was made a county in the middle of the sixteenth cen- 
tury. By later arrangements the barony of Ross was transferred to 
O'Flaherty, and to the county of Galway, and the Ardnarea Bourke 
estate was thrown into the county of Sligo. 

The county of Sligo also took shape in this period as the lordship 
of the Clan Andrias O'Conor, whom O'Dowdas, O'Haras, O'Garas, and 
MacDonoghs acknowledged as chief. 


BOURKE 1401 TO 1503. 

This period is marked by a greater amount of internal fighting 
among the English of Mayo, and by a repetition of quarrels with 
Clanricard, for which cause does not appear. It is convenient first 
to summarise the principal actions of this period. 

The two MacWilliams went into Munster to help the Earl of 
Ormond against the Earl of Desmond. Edmond Bourke attacked the 
Western O'Haras in 1411, and, apparently by way of retaliation, 
Brian O'Conor made a raid through the middle of Mayo. Edmond 
was fighting with MacFheorais in 1417, and in 1419 Mac William 
and his allies invaded Clanricard, but suffered defeat. Petty internal 
quarrels only are noted until Ulick of Clanricard and his Sligo allies 
came into Kilmaine in 1430. In 1443 Edmond, then MacWilliam, 
procured the submission of Ulick of Clanricard. 

In 1446 O'Donnell comes into Roscommon and into Kilmaine. 
Henceforth he interferes often and with great effect in Roscommon, 
Mayo, and Galway. 

In 1449 the sons of Walter and of Edmond were defeated when 
invading Clanricard. Richard was defeated in his invasion of 
Clanricard in 1467, but O'Donnell came and enforced peace in his 

There was a great deal of fighting between the subordinate lords, 
which measures the decadence of the country. 

Walter, 1401-1440. 

Walter became MacWilliam Bourke in succession to his father, 
and acknowledged the superiority of Ulick, ]\lacWilliam of Clanricard. 
In the following year, 1402, they went into Munster to help the Earl 
of Ormond against the Earl of Desmond. 

Edmond Bourke attacked the sons of John O'Hara, the western 
O'Haras, in 1411, probably on behalf of his brother, as Brian O'Conor 
led a force through Gallen, Clann Cuain, Carra, and Kilmaine, burn- 
ing Castlebarry, and Lehinch, and Lough Mask. The Clan Maurice 

THE MACWILLTAMS 1401 TO 1503. 155 

were with him. Though the Bourkes assembled their adherents and 
O'Flaherty, he is said to have got away safely, and to have sent home 
the Clan Maurice and obtained a peace without fighting. As Brian's 
brother Eogan is said to have plundered O'Conor Roe, this raid seems 
to have been an incident in a much wider war. 

Richard Barrett went to plunder Coolcarney, and was driven into 
the Moy by the people of the country and was drowned. There 
seems to have been now, and even earlier, a Barrett family ready to 
take arms against the Bourkes. These incidents may have been the 
cause of the Bourkes eventually oppressing the Barretts to some 
extent. In the following year MacWattin took Henry Barrett pris- 
oner in the church of Errew. 

In 1417 Edmond Bourke plundered and captured MacFheorais 
and carried him off to Lough Mask Castle. 

In 1419 Mac William Bourke joined O'Kelly and his Roscommon 
allies, with MacDavid on their side on this occasion, in an expedition 
into Clanricard. They had two bands of Gallowglasses, one under 
Torlogh MacDonnell, which was probably in Mac William's service, and 
one under MacDowell, which was probably in O'Conor's. Mac William 
secured the help of Teige O'Brien, and had the Gallowglass Donnell 
MacSweeny with him. The armies met in battle at Ath Lighen, 
somewhere in the south of Clanricard. Marlborough dates it as on 
the 28th July. Clanricard won a great victory. MacDowell and his two 
sons and all their Gallowglasses were slain. Torlogh MacDonnell 
survived, but all his men were slain. O'Kelly and MacDavid, called 
William Garbh, were taken prisoners. The result was peace for ten 
years between the MacWilliams. It seems to have been made in 
1420, as the MacWilliams released prisoners in exchange. Walter 
released Cathal O'Conor, whom he held as a pledge for the castle of 
Roscommon, and Ulick released O'Kelly. O'Conor Donn was released 
by one of them, probably Walter, as O'Conor Donn was a friend of Ulick. 

In 1428 MacJordan and John MacCostello made a raid into Tirawley 
upon Thomas Barrett and the sons of MacWattin. John Finn MacC. 
and Richard Barrett were slain. 

In 1430 MacWilliam of Clanricard and his allies are recorded to 
have triumphantly invaded Conmaicne Cuile. This seems to have 
been an incident in the O'Conor Donn and Roe wars. 

There was such a famine in 1433 that it was called the Summer of 
Aberration, " for nobody recognised a dear one, or friend then, for 
the greatness of the famine" (A.U.). In the following year a great 
frost set in five weeks before Christmas and lasted for twelve weeks. 
Horses and cattle went on the great lakes, and there was a great 
loss of birds. 

In 1435 " MacWattin, i.e. Robert Barrett, lord of Tirawley, a 


charitable, humane, and truly hospitable man, who protected his patri- 
monial teri'itory in despite of the English of Connaught, died " (F.M.). 
This entry points to the quarrel of the Bourkes and the Barretts, to 
which is attributed the settlement of Richard O'Cuairsci's descendants 
in Ti raw ley. 

In 1439 O'Conor Donu's son plundered MacCostello Roe. 

Walter Bourke died of the plague a week before the festival of the 
Holy Cross in autumn. To him, or to his father, is asci'ibed the 
foundation of the small Franciscan friary at Annagh on the shore of 
Lough Carra. He was succeeded by his brother. 

Edmond II. (na Fesoige), 1440-1458. 

Edmond seems to have been the leading spirit and the most war- 
like of his family, as his name has been already specially mentioned. 
In 1443 he gathered his allies to attack the other MacWilliam, who, 
being unable to raise sufficient forces, submitted without fighting, and 
accepted from Edmond 400 cows and a horse and armour, whereby 
he made a real submission according to Gaelic ideas. This was an 
act of aggression on Edmond's part, as Ulick Ruadh was then the 
senior of the two Mac Williams. But there may have been unrecorded 
reasons for hostilities between the two great factions. 

A great famine in the spring of 1447 was followed by a great 
outbreak of plague. 

In 1449 Walter Bourke's sons made a raid as far as Claregalwa}', 
where they were met by Ulick Ruadh's forces, aided by O'Conor 
Donn's son and his forces, and suffered a serious defeat. Two of 
Edmond's sons were slain. Edmond, son of William Bourke, and 
Meyler, son of MacSeonin, and Mej-ler's own son were taken 
prisoner. They lost fifty-five men killed and taken. 

The Barrett and Bourke quarrel went on. Walter, son of Theobald, 
son of Edmond Bourke, was killed by Thomas Barrett in 1453. 

Edmond na Fesoige (of the Beard) died at the end of 1458. 

In his time Henry Reagh O'Kelly, head of the sept called the 
Clann an Airchinnigh, settled in Carra. It was probably somewhat 
later than this date that the castle of Donamona was built. Henry 
was ninth in descent from King IJonnell Mor, who died in 1224. 

The clan name came from John, sixth in descent, who was Erenagh 
of Tuam. Henry's nephew William is said to have made the Bothar 
na Faine (Road of the Fane), in connection with the Togher Patrick 
in Drum parish. This name survives in Burnafania townland. The 
term " Parson of Donamona," applied in the composition of 1585 to 
Shane MacHubberte, seems to be a translation of Airchinnech. The 
family spread in Carra and Tirawley and Burrishoole, where it 

THE MACWILLIAMS — 1401 TO 1503. 157 

appears under the name MacEnerhiny, and other renderings of Mac 
an Airchinnigh, in the English records. 

The cross near the castle, put up in 1633 by David O'Kelly and 
his wife Gate Bourke in memory of his father, Meyler, who died in 
1627, whereof only the pedestal remains, must be one of the last of 
the kind. 

Thomas Og, 1458-1460. 

He was Edmond's brother, and was also known as Thomas of Moyne. 
The latter description is probably taken from the castle of Moyne, 
which may well have been built by him, and which was in the 
hereditary estate in Kilmaine assigned to him and his descendants. 
He was founder of the Abbey of Moyne in Tirawley. No more is 
known about him. He died in 1460, and was succeeded by his 

Richard I., U60-U69. 

In 1461 a quarrel in the O'Conor Roe family caused Mac William 
to lead his army into Silmurray, where the matter seems to have 
been arranged without fighting. But there was unrecorded fighting 
about this time in the Co. Sligo. We are told by MacFirbis that 
Richard's son William marched against the castle of Muilenn Adam, 
which may have been near Knockmullen, in revenge for the loss of 
his eye, which the sons of O'lSTeill had put out at that castle some 
time before. The sons of O'lSTeill and some MacDonogh forces pursued 
him to Ballymote, where he turned on them and killed fifteen, among 
them O'Neill's sons and Manus MacDonogh. The petty fighting all 
over the country was incessant about this time. 

Mac William Bourke attended upon the Earl of Desmond, the new 
Lord Deputy of Ireland. 

In 1466 he marched into Roscommon and burnt Ballintubber in 
support of Felim Finn in a quarrel in the O'Conor Roe family. The 
great Connaught parties seem to have taken sides as usual. The 
invasion of Clanricard in 1467 may be taken as part of the same 

Richard and O'Kelly suddenly invaded Clanricard and plundered 
about Loughreagh and Tuluban. As they heard that the forces of 
the country had been assembled, they began their retreat ; but Ulick 
Ruadh and some O'Brien allies came vip with them at Crosmacron, in 
the west of Grange parish, and gave them a serious defeat. Mac- 
William Bourke"s son, William Gaech, and two sons of O'Kelly were 
slain. The constable of MacWilliam's Gallowglasses, Aedh Buidhe, 
son of Torlogh, son of Marcus MacDonnell, and his two sons and 


three brothers, and eleven nobles of his party, and 160 Gallowglasses 
were also slain. In consequence of this grave defeat, O'Donnell 
came down into Connaught on MacWilliam's behalf and forced 
Clanricard to make peace. At this time O'iJonnell, Aedh Roe, was 
an ally of MacWilliam, This was some return for help given in 
1464, when Richard liourke, probably O'Cuairsci, had taken seven 
ships to Tirconnell to help O'Donnell. 

In 1468 there was some fighting in the neighbourhood as usual, 
and Richard led an army into Roscommon to support his ally, and 
probably vassal, Felim Finn. But age and illness seem to have 
disabled him. He resigned the lordship in 1469, and retired into 
the monastery of Burrishoole which he had founded. 

The Graxdsoxs of Sir Thomas, 1469-1503. 

This period is of much the same character as the preceding. 
Incessant petty wars of minor chieftains among themselves and 
family quarrels continued. MacWilliam Eighter was sometimes in 
alliance with and sometimes fighting against O'Donnell, who on the 
whole gained power in Sligo. The MacWilliams were generally at 
peace wdth each other. At the close of the century Gerald, the great 
Earl of Kildare, as Lord Deputy began to interfere in Roscommon 
and Galway. 

Richard II., 1469-1479. 

Richard I, was succeeded by the son of his brother Edmond. This 
Richard is known as Ricard O'Cuairsci (Richard of the Bent or Round 
Shield). MacFirbis, in his great " Book of Genealogies," gives him 
also the description "of the Ruag Thimchell," and asserts that he con- 
quered the Barretts and took from them Iniscoe, Ballycastle, Ard- 
narea, and various places in Tirawley. He also attributes to Richard 
the carrying off of the Lord of Howth, whom he released on con- 
dition that the door of Howth Castle be kept open at dinner-time. 
He must have been an able man, for he kept his hereditary lordship 
free from invasion, and made head against O'Donnell in Sligo to 
some extent. 

He signalised the year of his accession by an invasion of Clanricard, 
in company with O'Donnell, by way of revenge for Crosmacron. 
They advanced to the south of Claregalway, and spent some days in 
plundering and wasting the country. In the meanwhile Ulick 
Ruadh, MacWilliam Oughter, collected his forces, and in company 
with his allies, the sons of O'Brien, came up with the northern 
armies as they were retiring. The cavalry of Ulick and of the 
O'Briens attacked their rear at Ballinduff. O'Donnell's cavalry 

THE MACWILLIAMS 1401 TO 1503. 159 

defeated them. The southei'n forces were rallied and continued the 
pursuit. The noithein army turned and gave battle at the river 
Clanog, and wholly defeated the southerners, who ceased to pursue. 
The battle was probably fought near Cloghanower, 

This year is marked by the first record of quarrelling among the 
Bourkes themselves, in the Annals of Ulster : " Ricard, son of 
Thomas de Burgh, was slain by the sons of John de Burgh." It is 
most likely that he was a son of Thomas of Moyne, and that his 
slayers were the sons of John of Muinter Crechain. 

The alliance with O'Donnell was soon broken. In 1470 O'Donnell 
made the sons of Owen O' Conor of Sligo submit to him, and in the 
following year came to make the chieftains of Sligo submit to his 
nominee, Donnell, son of Owen, and operated in Carbury and against 
the MacDonoghs. MacWilliam Bourke came to assist Rory, son of 
Brian O'Conor. Donnell went into Sligo Castle. MacWilliam laid 
siege and broke down the gate-tower, whereupon they made peace. 
It seems that MacWilliam came up after O'Donnell had gone home. 

In 1472 Richard went to assist Teige Caoch O'Kelly. When the 
latter had secured hostages from the country west of the Suck, 
Richard suffered a defeat which is described obscurely by the Four 
Masters. They seem to mean that a son of MacWalter Burke, the 
sons of MacMaurice, the sons of MacJordan, and a son of MacEvilly 
and others, twenty-six in all, went off privately by themselves and 
were surrounded by the hostile O'Kellys, who captured or killed all 
but MacJordan, who fought his way out though wounded. 

In 1476 the Sligo quarrel was taken up again. O'Donnell and 
MacDonogh came to Cuilcnamha, the extreme eastern part of 
Tireragh. MacWilliam and MasDermot came to Coillte Luighne, 
cutting O'Donnell off from his own country. O'Donnell lost some 
men and horses in crossing the Strand into Carbury, whither 
MacWilliam followed him. The armies faced each other for a 
while, and then peace was made by cession of O'Dowda's country, 
Leyny, and half of Carbury to MacWilliam, and the rest to 
O'Donnell. This was, of course, but a temporary arrangement. 

In 1478 MacWilliam interfered in a dispute between MacDermot 
and his Tanist, and went on to Sligo, where he is said to have left 
his son in charge of the castle. 

Richard O'Cuairsci was killed by a fall in 1579. He was suc- 
ceeded by his cousin Theobald, son of Walter Bourke. 

Theobald I., 1479-1503. 

The following year was marked by a family quarrel of the 
Bourkes. The sons of Richard Bourke defeated Edmond Bourke's 


sons, A MacDowell ami J)avid Mac in Oircliinnigb ai-e said to have 
been killed. The latter was pi'obably an U'Kelly of Donamona, and 
the quarrel was most likely between the sons of Richard I. and of 
Edmond II, 

In 1485 there was quarrelling over O'Conor affairs in Roscommon. 
It is not clear how Theobald intervened, but a quarrel broke out, 
and O'Donnell and Ulick Finn, the new MacWilliam Oughter, were 
engaged in it, and O'Donnell carried Felim Finn U'Conor off to 
Tirconnell as a hostage. This interference may have been the cause 
of the war. O'l^onnell invaded Tirawley. Theobald gave battle, and 
seems to have been defeated, as it is recorded that 100 of his 
men were slain, and John MacJordan and Ulick, son of Richard 
I., and many others were taken prisoner. According to the Annals 
of Ulster, it was fought at Ardnarea, 

The Bouike and Barrett quarrel was kept up. Richard's son 
Edmond was treacherously taken prisoner by the Barretts, but 
was rescued, in 1487. This was but an incident in the general 
disorder of the time. O'Donnell ravaged Moylurg twice. O'Conor 
Donn and MacWilliam Oughter ravaged O'Conor Roe's country. 
The O'Kellys fought among themselves. The O'Conors of Sligo 
attacked the MacJordans, Theobald's allies and dependants were 
all at war, but save for the attack on the MacJordans, it does not 
appear that his territories suffered, nor does it appear what he 
was doing. It may be inferred that he was successful on the 
whole, because O'Donnell made peace with him in the following 
year, and his ally, Felim Finn, was made O'Conor Roe and chief 
of all the O'Conors of Roscommon, in succession to Donough, by 
O'Donnell and MacWilliam and MacDermot in due form. 

The plague was very bad in 1489, and a famine followed in 1493. 

In 1494 Richard O'Cuairsci's son William was killed while helping 
O'Donnell, now an ally, to besiege Sligo Castle in the interest of 
Rory O'Conor, who had become chief when his sons killed Donnell 
in a night attack on Bunfinne Castle on 14th March. 

In 1497 Richard O'Cuairsci's son Walter went with ships to 
Ulster to help Conn O'Donnell, in whose favour his father Aedh 
Ruadh had resigned the chieftainship, against his brother Aedh. 
Aedh met the fleet, and "took the greater part of their arms and 
their apparel and their stores from them " (A.U.), But Aedh was 
himself immediately afterwards taken by Conn, and sent into Con- 
naught in charge of Walter ; Conn himself was killed by Henry 
O'Neill on the 19th October, Aedh therefore was released on the 
7th November, and Walter went with him to Ulster. Aedh refused 
to take up the chieftainship, and his father resumed it. There was 
a great famine in this year. 

THE MACWILLIAMS — 1401 TO 1503. IGl 

Eicliard O'Cuair.sci's son Richard Og and Cormac O'Higgin were 
killed by Clann Fheorais on the Wednesday after Whitsuntide in 

The Earl of Kildare, who was now Lord Deputy, had interfered 
in Ulster affairs in the year before by acting against O'Neill. He 
now intervened in Connaught. He took the castle of Athleague 
from William O'Kelly's sons, and drove them to the west of the 
Suck, in favour of Conor O'Kelly. He took up the cause of Hugh 
O'Conor Donn against O'Conor Roe. O'Oonor Roe had for some 
time been able to keep the position of chief of the O'Conors of 
Roscommon. The Lord Deputy now took the castles of Roscommon 
and Castlereagh and Tulsk, in which were the hostages of O'Conor 
Roe, handed over to O'Conor Donn the castles and hostages of the 
O'Conor Roe sept, and went away leaving O'Conor Donn as chief. 
As soon as he left, MacDermot and the Silmurray turned on O'Conor 
Donn and drove him across the Shannon. MacWilliam Bourke 
now intervened. The annalists tell their story in a concise and 
far from clear manner, but on consideration of the facts it appears 
that Theobald did not come to set up O'Conor Donn again, but 
to undo the Lord Deputy's work and re-establish his friend O'Conor 
Roe, Aedh, son of Aedh, as chief of his own sept and as superior 
of O'Conor Donn. MacDermot and O'Conor Roe were always of 
his party. There was also at this time a split in the family of 
O'Conor Roe. He took Tulsk Castle from the branch of the family 
put in possession in the interest of O'Conor Donn, and handed it 
over with the hostages of O'Conor Roe's sept to O'Conor Roe, and 
put him in possession of his castles. He made peace between 
MacDei-mot and O'Conor Donn. He also restored the castle of 
Athleague to William O'Kelly's sons. In it he captured Conor 
O'Kelly, the second lord of Hy Many, whom he handed over to 
his own ally, Melaghlin O'Kelly, who thus became sole O'Kelly. 

This seems to have been the last war of his life. He died on the 
5th March 1503 at a great aee. 


FROM 1503 TO 1550. 

This period is marked as a whole by freedom from invasion and 
plundering by outside enemies on a lai'ge scale. The silence of the 
Annals agrees with the general course of events. On the other 
hand, we may feel equally sure that a considerable amount of border 
warfare and of internal fighting has been ignored. 

It is marked also by less interference in external affau-s by 
MacWilliam Bourke, which is perhaps the cause of freedom from 

As he left his neighbours to settle their own quarrels, no one 
wanted to interfere with him. His imme<liate neighbours on the 
east and north were too weak. O'Donnell continued his interference 
in Sligo, and strengthened his influence. Mac William's abstention 
was in his interest. At a later time the marriage of his daughter 
to Oliverus Bourke accounts for his giving the Bourkes help in 
Tirawley. The occasions when he came into collision with Mac- 
William did not lead to prolonged warfare. The Bourkes had 
considerable power over the parts of Tireragh which lie along the 
3Ioy. The castle of Enniscrone could not be held against them. 
But they themselves occupied only the castle of Ardnarea and the 
lands attached thereto. 

O'Donnell's power in Connaught was increased by constant raids 
on O'Conors, O'Haras, and MacDermots. 

During the first few years the other MacWilliam was much 
weakened by the effects of the battle of Knocktoe. Later on the 
power of the king's Government began to be felt in South Con- 
naught. The grant of the Earldom of Clanricard, and the disjiutes 
which arose in consequence of the determination of the Government 
to secure for the young Earl the succession to the rights of the 
MacWilliamship, claimed by Sir William Burke, prevented the 
Burkes of Clanricard from acting as a body in external affairs 
until the young Earl came of age and took up without further 
contest the position of MacWilliam Oughter. 

The Bourkes came to blows amongst themselves, killing or 
murdering each othei', but without persistent warfare or wasting 
of each other's estates. A certain amount of fighting between the 

FROM 1503 TO 1550. 163 

minor lords and their neighbours, especially between MacCostellos 
and MacDermots, is recorded in the Annals. 

I have closed this period with the year 1550 because the Earl 
of Clanricard, Richard Saxonagh, was put in possession of his estates 
and became a power in Connaught on the side of the Government. 

The Reformation was not yet felt much in Connaught. The 
Government was able to make Bodkin Archbishop of Tuam, and 
to make some minor appointments. The dissolution of the monas- 
teries was carried out to some extent. The estates wei-e surren- 
dered in case of some of the richer houses, and in at least one 
case let on lease to the abbot for life. In other cases grants were 
made to laymen. It is evident that the great lords regarded the 
religious houses with indifference. They were glad enough to take 
gi-ants of lands. The monks were let live in their houses, which 
were useless to laymen, who must live in defensible castles if rich 
enough to occupy large dwellings. Their lands in Mayo seem to 
have been left in possession of the monks. Owing to loss of records, 
it is not easy to see what actually occurred at this early period. 
It may be said that there was no real and apparent change for a 
good many years. It is likely that many of the early grants to 
local lords were taken in the interest of the monks who remained 
undisturbed, but would have to pay rent if the grantee should be 
obliged to pay any to the Government. This would not occur until 
much later days, when the newly formed counties were subjected 
to an effective administration of the law. For many years the 
Government of Ireland had only influence over the lords, no con- 
tinuous local control. It seems to have been contented where 
really powerless, as here, to leave things alone until the legal rights 
could be enforced without difficulty. 

Edmond III., 1503-1513. 

Theobald was succeeded by Edmond, son of Richard O'Cuairsci. In 
this year occurred the events which led directly to the battle of 
Knockdoe. Ulick of Clanricard demolished three of O'Kelly's castles 
and defeated O'Kelly in the battle^ of Bel Atha na nGarbhan, in 
which O'Kelly had the help of MacWilliam Bourke's forces under 
Walter Bourke, a grandson of Thomas of Moyne, described as a 
distinguished captain, who was slain. Many of the Gallowglasses of 
Clan Donnell and Clan Sweeny were slain around their constables. 
O'Kelly applied to the Loi-d Deputy for help, who came next year 
with great forces. Lord Kildare had some English barons of the 
Pale with him, but the fight was really between the English and 
Irish of North Connaught aided by some great Ulster lords and the 


Lord Deputy on one sitle, and MacWilliam of Claniicaid and the 
Irish of Thoniond and Ormond and Ara and Ely on the other side. 
No doubt it was the Lord Deputy's power and influence that brought 
down such great forces from Ulster as made the northern side 
irresistible in battle. Where the allies met does not appear. The two 
armies engaged on the 19th September 1504 at Knockdoe — according 
to local ti'adition, between the top of the hill and the townland of 
Turloughmore. Musket balls and a cannon ball are said to have 
been found on the hillside. 

Both sides fought with determination, until the southern was 
completely defeated, with very great loss on both sides. Ware puts 
the Olanricard losses at 2000 men. The Four Masters and Annals 
of Ulster give the survivors as one broken battalion out of nine. 
The Lord Deputy is said to have taken Ulick's two sons and two 
daughtei's prisoners. The daughters would not be taken in battle, 
so it is probable that they, and perhaps the sons, were afterwards 
given uj) as hostages. The defeat was decisive. The victors went 
next day to Galway, and afterwards took possession of Athenry. 

The result enhanced the power of MacWilliam Bourke and of his 
ally, O'Conor Roe, as against their rivals, MacWilliam of Clanricard 
and O'Conor Donn. Peace was kept between the MacWilliams for 
many years. 

" John, the son of Richard Bui'ke, was treacherously slain by the 
sons of Uliek Burke in the monastery of Toberpatrick " (F.M.). 
John is the son of Richard I. The Ulick meant cannot be identified. 
This murder survives in tradition, but under other names. John and 
Ulick are long forgotten. It was lately told that Tibot na Long, 
coming fi'om Castlebourke, was met by his brother-in-law, who had 
come from Sligo, and was murdered near the abbey. 

In 1512 O'Donnell and Edmond came into collision. The cause 
is not clear, but we may infer it to have been due to O'Donnell's 
interference in the part of Tireragh over which the Bourkes claimed 
rights. The story is told thus in the Annals of Ulster : " O'Domnaill 
proceeds from Derry [with] a few horsemen and takes the castle 
of Bel-in-clair ^ in the counti'y of Galenga, and leaves warders in it 
and goes back into Tir-Fiachrach. MacWilliam musters and goes 
towards the town, and, on that being learned by O'Domnaill, he 
attacks the town again, and MacWilliam abandons the town to him 
and goes to put provision and warders into the castle of Escir- 
abhann^ in Tir-Fiachrach. On that being learned by O'Domnaill, 
O'Domnaill pursues him across Sliabh Gamh. On this being notified 
to MacWilliam, he leaves his son and other warders in the town and 
goes forward himself to Ard-na-riag. O'Domnaill catches sight of 
^ Aclare in Levnv. ^ Enniscrone. 

FROM 1503 TO 1550. 165 

him, and he is pursued, and they come between Mac William and the 
ford. And MacWilliam by swimming escapes [despite them] from 
it [with] a few, and the [escaped] part of his people is followed 
beyond [the river] Muaidh and many horses and much armour 
were Avrested from them, and they went themselves in plight of 
defeat. O'Domnaill sits under the castle of Escir-abhann, and takes 
the place at end of four days, and breaks it down straightway, 
and takes the son of MacWilliam [namely, Ulick] and the other 
warders and comes safe to his house." The Four Masters add that 
MacWilliam followed O'Donnell to Donegal and gave him all his 

It is evident that there was little more than skirmishing. O'Donnell 
was weak, and MacWilliam had but a handful of men. He man- 
oeuvred to provision and strengthen Enniscrone. Having done that, 
he was caught on his way to Ardnarea, and Enniscrone Castle fell 
before he could collect forces to relieve it. O'Donnell was not strong 
enough to hold the castle, and hurried away with his hostage in 
order to secure a ransom, which MacWilliam had to pay to save his 
son's life. 

Edmond was treacherously murdered on the 23rd February 1513, 
in the monastery of Rathfran, by Theobald Reagh and Edmond 
Oiocai'ach, sons of his brother Walter. His brother John suc- 
ceeded him. 

John I., 1513-1514. 

John was murdered treacherovisly by his kinsmen in the year after 
his accession. The murderers are not named, but we may guess at 
his brother's murderers. 

In this year O'Donnell made a small raid into Gallen as far as 
Croghan Gaileng, and killed O'Ruadhain and others. 

Meyler L, 1514-1520. 

No events affecting Mayo are recorded during his reign. He was 
on friendly terms with O'Donnell, and his neighbours were too weak 
to attack him. 

He was killed on the 28th April 1520, treacherously, by the sons 
of Seonin Mor, son of MacSeonin. 

Edmond IV., 1520-1527. 

This Edmond was a son of Ulick, son of Edmond II. 
In 1521 a war broke out between O'Donnell and O'Neill. O'Neill 
got help from the Earl of Kildare, who gave him his Gallowglasses, 


and from some of the English of Meatli, and from the Mac-Donnells. 
O'Neill arranged an alliance with the two Mac^Villiams, MacDermot, 
O'Conors Roe and Donn, O'Brien, O'Kennedy, and O'Carroll, who 
agreed to meet him in Tirhugh about the 15th August. They reached 
Sligo on the Friday before and stopped to take the castle. O'Neill 
was encamped at Knockavoe in Ilaphoe. O'Donnell, having far 
inferior forces, made a night attack on O'Neill's camp with picked 
men, and cut O'Neill's army to pieces. He marched at once to 
Carrownamaddoo near Grange in Carbury. The Connaught lords heard 
of O'Neill's defeat at the time of his arrival and resolved to make 
peace. They sent Teige O'Brien to O'Donnell's camp, but broke up 
their own and marched away with such haste that their envoy, after 
agreeing with O'Donnell, did not come up with them until they 
reached the Curlews. Teige agreed with O'Donnell that the differences 
between O'Donnell and the MacWilliams should be referred to the 
arbitration of Manus O'Donnell and O'Carroll. This retreat without 
fighting raised O'Donnell's reputation very high. Next year he made 
peace with O'Neill. 

In 1526 O'Donnell was obliged to come down to Sligo in force 
against the O'Conors and MacDonoghs, and took the opportunity of 
helping the Tirawley Bourkes against the Barretts, whereof the only 
record is in the Annals of Loch C6 : " O'Donnell then marched his 
army into Tirawley, where he took the castles of Caerthanan and 
Cros Maoiliona, in wliich he found hostages and many spoils ; he 
then threw down and totally demolished these castles, so that they 
were no longer habitable. He afterwards established peace, amity, 
and concord between the descendants of Richard Burke and the 
Barretts so that they were friendly towards one another." 

In the following year O'Donnell brought a large army into Moy- 
lurg, where he destroyed three castles. "They afterwards proceeded 
to Castlemore-Costello for the purpose of taking it. This was an 
impregnable fortress, for it contained provisions and every kind of 
engines, the best to be found at that time in Ireland, for resisting 
enemies, such as cannon and all sorts of weapons. These chieftains 
nevertheless proceeded to besiege the castle ; and they placed their 
army in order all around it, so that they did not permit any person 
to pass from it or towards it, till at last they took it." (F.M.) This 
means that the garrison was starved out. The attack on the castle 
seems to have been due to the alliance of MacCostello with some 
of the MacDermots, not to a quarrel with the Bourkes. 

Edmond lY. died on the 30th October 1527. He was succeeded 
by John. 

FROM 1503 TO 1550. 167 

John II., 1527-15—; Ulick II., 15 1534. 

He is known as John of the Termon. The Termon of Balla has been 
supposed to have given him the name, but I think he is as likely to 
have taken it from the Termon in the barony of Kilmaine in which 
his family was chief. The Termon is the name of a townland in 
Strafford's Survey, wliich lay close to Ballyglass. It does not appear 
how long he reigned. No events are recorded as having occurred in 
his time. The succession of the Lower MacWilliams is very obscure 
for some years. I give the names which I find. 

In the year 1530 O'Donnell is said to have plundered Gallen in 
the middle of the summer, and to have made an expedition against 
MacWilliam in harvest, when he plundered some of his country. 
Then they made peace. 

In 1532 the O'Dowdas took the castle of Ardnarea from John 
Bourke's son, but Thomas Bourke's sons recovered it the following 
year. Hence an Irish proverb arose in that country — " Like the 
expectation of O'Dowda to regain Ardnarea" (H.F., p. 308). 

Ulick died on the 27th October 1534. 

Theobald II., 1534-1537. 

Theobald's accession is not recorded, and I assume him to have 
succeeded Ulick. In his time the O'Dowdas, with help of O'Conor 
Sligo and MacDonoghs, made a raid into Tirawley against the 
Bourkes at the instigation of Bishop Bai'rett, and carried off cattle 
which had been driven into the Termon of Errew for protection. It 
seems to have been but a petty raid in the course of the local quarrel 
of Bourkes and O'Dowdas, probably one of many on both sides, the 
one which by chance has been recorded. This was in 1536, the 
year in which Teige Og O'Conor assumed the title " O'Conor " 
instead of " MacDonnell Mic Murtough." He made an attack on 
MacCostello also, who came out of his castle and surrendered to 
O'Conor MacFheorais's coat of mail as a hostage, which he afterwards 
redeemed. This coat must have had some very great value as a 
trophy of an unrecorded victory over MacFheorais. 

O'Conor's pretensions brought O'Donnell down on him. O'Donnell 
came into Tireragh and plundered it. A party of horsemen, 160 
to 180, was sent across the Moy in pursuit of O'Dowda's cattle, 
which it captured, together with O'Dowda's wife, a daughter of 
Walter Bourke, They took the opportunity of helping John Bourke's 
family against Bishop Barrett. 

Theobald died in 1537. It does not appear who succeeded him. A 


war ensued respecting his property. I cannot ascertain the name of 
any MacWilliam from this until Oliverus appears as MacWilliam in 

From 15.37 to 1550. 

The English power was now making itself felt again in Connaught. 
In 1538 the Lord Deputy, Lord Leonard Gray, made a tour in 
Munster, when he received the submission of Tibbot Burke, the 
MacWilliam of Clan William in Munster, and of other lords. Ulick 
na gCeann of Clanricard met him there and submitted. The Lord 
Deputy came into (Jlanricard, and on the 10th July took the castle 
of Claregalway from Richard Og Burke, who had done much harm to 
the town of Oalway, and made it over to Ulick, whom he calls a great 
friend of the town. On the 11th July he went to Galway and re- 
ceived the submission of O'Flaherty, O'Madden, and Thomas Mac- 
Yoris. He left Galway on the 19th. He took the castles of Derry 
Maclaghney and Lackagh from Richard Og's sons and made them 
over to Ulick. When he was on the border of O'Kelly's country on 
the 21st, O'Conor Roe came and submitted. The Lower MacWilliam 
is not recorded to have submitted, but it is said that the Lord Deputy 
was preparing to march against him. 

It was made a charge against Lord Leonard Gray that he displaced 
Richard Og from the MacWilliamship of Clanricard and put Ulick na 
gCeann in his place. There had been much quarrelling since 1536, 
and it is by no means certain that any one was fully established as 
MacWilliam. Richard Bacagh and Ulick, son of the Richard Og who 
died in 1519, were then set up, and Ulick na gCeann had then 
supported the former. But the Richard Og displaced by Gray is 
described by Darcy as an vmcle of Ulick. ^ 

The result of this tour was a distinct advance of the royal power. 
Several of these lords entered into indentures to pay rent and supply 

At a Parliament held in 1541 Lord Athenry was the only Con- 
naught lord present ; but Ulick of Clanricard, and other Irish lords 
not yet of Parliament, attended. 

In 1543 the two Mac Williams and the three O'Conors and Mac- 
Dermot attended the Council of Ireland. A result of this general 
submission was that MacWilliam of Clanricard, O'Brien, and O'Neill 
surrendered their Irish titles and agreed to hold their territories 
from the king. They were made Earls of Clanricard, Thomond, and 
Tyrone. The two Connaught earls were henceforth generally strong 
supporters of the king's authority, on which they relied for the in- 
heritance of their estates according to English law. 

» Carew MSS. I. 

FROM 1503 TO 1550. 1G9 

It does not appear why the Lower Mac William was left out of this 
arrangement. He was more powerful than Ulick. Either he would 
not make the necessary surrender, or, as probably, the existing lord 
was not so firmly in possession as to be able to risk a change in his 

In 1545 according to the Annals of Loch Oe, or in 1549 according 
to O'Flaherty, Walter Fada, son of David Bourke, who was then or 
later Mac William, was murdered in the castle of Inveran in Moy- 
cullen, to the west of Galway, by Donnell O'Flaherty, at the insti- 
gation of his sister Finola, wife of David Bourke, in order to secure 
the succession to the MacWilliamship for her own son Ilichai'd an 

In 1548 O'Conor Donn and the MacDermots, with some Gallow- 
glasses of the MacSweenys and MacDowells, invaded Olann Maurice 
and killed Richard MacMaurice, " the young Abbot." They took 
Castlekeel, and probably also Castlemacgarrett, and killed between 
100 and 200 people, and carried off 900 or 1000 cows and 10 horses. 


FKOM 1550 TO 1568. 

The beginning of this period coincides with the direct assumption 
of Government duties in Connaught, though to a very small extent. 
Sir Thomas Cusack, the Chancellor of Ireland, was left for a time at 
Athlone as the representative of the Lord Deputy, and was employed 
in collecting information which led afterwards to the formation of 
counties. In a letter of the 8th May 1553 on the state of Ireland, 
he writes that when the Earl of Clanricard came of age a war broke 
out between the Earl and Ulick Burke, and that he with a small 
force reduced them to peace in a fortnight, and that " MacWilliam 
Bourke, second captain of most power in Connaught, is of honest 
conformity, and doth hinder none of the King's Majesty's subjects, 
and is ready to join with the Earl of Clanricard, and every other 
captain, to serve the King's Majesty in every place in Connaught" — 
and that these two, with a captain and a few men at Galway or 
Athenry, will be able to rule all Connaught. 

All Connaught seems to have been now under tribute, or at least 
under agreement to pay something. Though I do not find positive 
record of it for each chief lord, yet the incidental references to certain 
cases justify the belief that the statement is true. Thus I find no 
evidence of a specific agreement between MacWilliam Bourke and 
the Lord Deputy, but I do find a Fiant, undated, of the year 1553, 
for a pardon to Edmund de Burgo of Caslanevarre — that is, Castlebar 
— and all his servants. Such a pardon is inconceivable in the circum- 
stances of twenty years earlier, but agrees with the existing condi- 
tions of gradual extension of royal power, which seems to have been 
on the whole welcome to the great loi'ds, though they were unable 
to keep the peace entirely, because of want of control over their 
principal subjects and the more powerful branches of their own 
families. Unfortunately the king's power was not always present 
in irresistible force, and was allowed occasionally to disappear 

The Annals give but few notes of Mayo affairs at this time, pro- 
bably because of peace, as they record little else than fightilig and 
deaths. In 1553 the sons of Thomas Bacagh Bourke and the people 
of Gallen defeated Ilicard an larainn, took him prisoner, and killed 

FROM 1550 TO 15G8. 171 

150 of his men. In 1555 Edmond Boy, son of Thomas Bacagh, was 
killed by Oliver Bourke's sons. 

When peace was made in 1553, on the submission of Leix and 
Ofifaly, Lord Clanricard was at Athlone with 100 horsemen, 200 
Gallowglasses, 100 shots, 200 kerne, and six weeks' provisions. The 
war with O'Neill was in progress. The Bourkes seem to have moved 
in alliance with O'Neill, for Lord Clanricard wrote that he heard 
that Shane MacOliverus was advancing into the plains of Con- 
naught with a large body of Scots, that he went to meet them, and 
encountered them late on the second day's march in the Curlews, 
where he overthrew them, killing many of the Scots and of Bourke's 
men. This may have been only a private adventure of John Bourke, 
as MacWilliam is not mentioned in connection with the affair. 

In 1558 a somewhat similar incident occurred, in which David 
Bourke, who was then MacWilliam, must have been concerned, as 
his own son took a leading part. In the late summer 1200 Scots 
under Donnell and Dowell MacAillin, cousins of the Earl of Argyle, 
who are said by the Four Masters to have served long in Tirconnell, 
were induced by Ricard an larainn to come to Connaught. They 
plundered especially MacMaurice and Lord Athenry, adherents of 
Clanricard. Lord Clanricard met them after two days' march and 
defeated them on the third day, 8th September, at Cloonee, killing 
the two MacAillins and about 700 Scots. He pursued them for four 
days, so that few escaped. This Cloonee must have been somewhere 
on the borders of Mayo and Galway. 

At the close of this year David Bourke died. He was succeeded 
by Richard, son of John of the Termon. 

RicHAKD III., 1558-1570. 

The king's power made another step in advance in 1558, when the 
castle of Roscommon was given up by O'Conor Donn. But it was 
not occupied for the king until 1569. 

Sir Henry Sidney being Lord Deputy in 1566, and fearing that 
O'Neill would intrigue with the Connaught lords, " sent for the Earl 
of Clanricard and MacWilliam Lighter, upon whose Factions all the 
intestine Wars in Connaught hath grown," and brought them to agree- 
ment for settlement of their dispvites, and to promise support against 
O'Neill. He says that though he was assured that MacWilliam had 
never before repaired to any governor, yet he found him very 
well disposed and faithful to his engagement, although the Earl of 
Thomond had invaded his country and had wounded two of his 
brothers during his absence. 

The Council Book, under the 13th August, 156G, shows that there was 


also a meeting for a general pacification and settlement of disputes 
between the Earl and MacWilliam and Donogh Rengh O'Kelly and 
Walter, son of John Boiuke, and Lord Bermingham of Athenry, 
and between Walter Bourke and James Bermingham of the sept of 
Thomas Bermingham. The principal points in dispute are shown. in 
the following sununary. 

1. i\Jac William Eighter made his humble submission to the queen, 
and agreement to abide by the decision of the Council. 

2. The Council ordered the parties to keep the peace towards each 
other and towards Morogh ne Doe O'Flaherty, O'Conor Roe, Mac- 
Costello, MacJordan, O'Kellv. 

3. Mac William complained that O'Conor JJonn had seized and 
imprisoned O'Conor Roe at a time when peace had been concluded 
between !MacWilliam and the Earl of Clanricard at Loughreagh, 
before William Tirrell, envoy of the Lord Deputy, O'Conor Roe being 
under MacWilliam's peace. The Earl denied it. Order was made 
for inquii-y. If the complaint is true the Earl must prosecute O'Conor 
Donn for O'Conor Roe's liberty. 

4. A dispute regarding Garbally between Donogh Reagh O'Kelly 
and the Earl. 

5. MacWilliam claimed Moyne as his hereditary right and in his 
territory. The Earl replied that his father Ulick held it — it came to 
himself as heir. Ordered that the castle be surrendered to the deputy 
pending trial. 

6. Since Thomas Bourke, son of MacWilliam, Thomas MacRichard 
Boye MacJohn, Meiler MacRichard MacJohn, and Edmund Mac- 
Richard Boye ]MacJohn are held by the Earl for certain debts due 
under their composition, they are to be made over to the Council, 
to be made over to the custody of the Constable of Athlone, to be 
released by order of Council. 

7. " And whereas Cahir MacDonyll MacConyll ^ was taken in flight 
by Edmund the Earl's brother, and released on bail, and John 
MacRichard MacMeilor escaped from prison, as the Earl alleges, 
we order that the fine or ransom be paid to the Earl if we or our 
commissioner see fit, and that the escaped prisoner, if he be shown 
to have come within MacWilliam's government, be by MacWilliam 
made over to the said Constable as is prescribed about the others." 

8. Lord Birmingham of Athenry complained that Walter, son of 
John Bourke, withheld the castle of Dunmore from him. Walter 
denied and said it belonged to other Birminghams. Arrangement 
was made for trial. 

Other disputes between the Earl and ]^LacWilliam were to be 
settled hereafter by the Council. 

1 MacDomnaill. 

FROM 1550 TO 1568. 173 

Commissionei'S wei-e appointed. 

The parties were bound in =£2000 to abide by this agreement. 

The nature of the quarrels of the great lords is shown here. Such 
quarrels can be settled only by war unless both parties are vei^y 
anxious for a peaceful arrangement. Some of them are such as the 
parties could not easily be brought to refer to arbitration. In Con- 
naught there was no one who could be called in as an arbitrator. 
Ever since the disappearance of the courts of the chief lord of Con- 
naught and of the king after 1333, such disputes must have been 
a constant cause of war, and explain many things. 

Though this dispute regarding Moyne seems to have been settled 
as between the Earl and Mac William, another survived between the 
Earl and Walter FitzJohn, which was not decided until November 
1571. The castle belonged to the Earl in 1.585, so he may be assumed 
to have won all through. It does not appear who this Walter 
FitzJohn Bourke was. John of the Termon's son, Walter Cluas le 
Doinin, was killed at the battle of Shrule. He may be a descendant 
of Thomas Og of Moyne. 

The position of Richard Boy MacJohn in the genealogy is not 

In connection with this dispute, and in illustration of the arrange- 
ments made from time to time among the Connaught Bourkes, a 
recital of claim which appears in an inquisition of the 4th April 1609, 
taken regarding titles to lands in Mayo, is of some interest. It 
recites that Eraght Thomas consisted of eighteen towns of four 
quarters, divided between five brothers, whereof two conveyed their 
shares to the first Earl of Clanricard, who entered into the castle 
of Moyne and four quarters and all the territory except a mill and 
four acres at Moyne ; that David MacEdmund MacUlick, being Mac- 
William Eighter, granted the Earl a rent charge of 9s. on 440 quarters ; 
that Ptichard, the second earl, entered into possession of Eraght 
Thomas, and, by purchase, of castle of Moycharra and of the castle 
of Carha in Moyntercreighan. Many rents are recited as granted 
by MacJonyns, MacMeylers, MacGibbons, and others, and are said 
to have been paid to the second earl's sergeant, who went round with 
MacWilliam's sergeant for two years until Richard, son of John of 
the Termon, went into rebellion and prevented payment to the Earl. 

It is very likely that this claim was truly based on some old trans- 
action, whereby David paid for help. But if the Earl ever had any 
claim on Eraght Thomas, there is no evidence of the fact. It is not 
improbable that two of the brothers did enter into some such bargain 
to secure help in a family quarrel. But whether they had any sale- 
able interest is another question. 

This appearance of the de Burgo lords was a great advance towards 


the restoration of government. Sidney came to (4ahvay in the follow- 
ing spring. He deplores the miseiable condition of the country, 
having but one-twentieth of the population needed to inhabit it. 
He describes the Clanricard country as quiet and well tilled. He 
left the country by Athenry and Athlone, seeing only a part of the 
south. As the inhabitants were never within the memory of man in 
worse case, so, he says, they were never in more forwardness for 

Having procured submission of the chief lords and made peace 
between those of English descent. Sir Henry now undertook to pro- 
vide for the direct government of Connaught by the appointment of 
Commissioners to act in the place of the Lord Deputy during his 
absence from Connaught. Hitherto the Lord Deputy procured a 
show of submission by his appearance in the country at the head of a 
considei'able force, but when he went to Dublin the old state of things 
arose. But these appearances of the royal avithority accustomed the 
lords to its recognition as more than an empty form, and Sidney 
rightly judged that a delegate with a moderate force at his command 
would be able to exercise a good deal of power, and would have a 
sufficient amount of support from those lords who really desired to 
enjoy peace and quiet. 



Sir Edward Fitton was appointed Governor of Connaught in July 
1569, with the title of President of the Council, which consisted of a 
Justice, an Attorney, a Provost-Marshal, and several men of rank 
belonging to the province. The sheriflfs of counties seem to have 
been usually on it. The normal constitution does not appear. It 
probably varied from time to time. All the chief provincial officers 
were on it, besides officers in command of companies of soldiers at 

The President's powers were great. In important matters he was 
required to get the consent of one of his assistants, but he had a 
large measure of independence, as in the control of the military forces, 
which vested in him alone. He exercised the powers of the Lord 
Deputy to a great extent when the Lord Deputy was not present in 
person. The distribution of authoi'ity between President and Council 
is not defined in the records. It is inferred from remarks. The 
business as a rule was carried on by the provincial officers, as the 
sheriflfs and unofficial members were usually absent from the head- 

The President was afterwards called Chief Commissioner and 

The sheriflfs at first were authorised to use martial law in deal- 
ing with disturbances, but when Sir R. Bingham became Governor 
the power was reserved to the Governor. The sheriflfs were the 
Governor's lieutenants within their counties. 

Sir Henry Sidney made a journey into Connaught to establish the 
President and Council in office. He took up the castle of Roscom- 
mon, and placed a garrison in it under Sir Thomas Le Strange as 

The first duty of these Commissioners, as they were also called, 
was to lay down definite boundaries of counties in Thomond and 
Connaught, excepting Brefne O'Reilly and Annaly. They laid out 
the counties of Clare or Thomond, Galway, Mayo, Roscommon, and 
Sligo, formed by grouping territories of chieftains. The county of 
Mayo as then laid down was not altered except by transfer of the 


barony of Ross to Galway, and later by the transfer of Ardnarea to 
Sligo, and a little south of the river Lung to Roscommon. 

Edmund FitzAlexander is the first sheriff of Mayo whose name 
appears, and probably was the first. But it does not appear who 
he was. 

The first difficulty of the Government was the custom of cessing 
officers and soldiers on the country. The Government hated it, but 
could not do without it. The queen had no revenue from Connaught. 
Sir Edward writes on the 20th February 1570: "The army must be 
kept here and must be cessed, so that it is as hard for subjects as for 

" Shane Bourke MacOliverus, who now standeth to be MacWilliam 
Ewter, being exclaimed upon to his face by a poor widow of his 
country being undone by his rebelliovis practices in maintaining the 
Scots, he fell in a stud}', and after some pause, said openly : ' I am in 
a miserable case. If we stand out altogether and maintain Scots for 
our own defence, I see the destruction of the country. Again, if I 
shall take upon me the name of MacWilliam, I shall be driven for 
maintenance thereof to spoil it myself. And if we shall submit 
ourselves to the English nation, they will be as burthensome as 
MacWilliam or Scots.' " 

Again, on 20th May 1571 : "The cess is very heavy, but soldiers 
must be kept, as they are always wanted on a sudden. If the queen's 
victualler would furnish supplies for soldiers in every province, the 
service would be no worse and the people would be less oppressed, 
and, as men of experience think, their good will might be soon 
obtained. Yet they will not for a time really consent to abandon old 
customs, but must be kept in fear." ^ 

As a revenue was raised by degrees by tributes or rents imposed 
on the chieftains, the cess must have become less and less, used only 
on occasion, and thus return was given for payments, until at last the 
whole province was brought to agree to the annual rents needed as a 
substitute for the cess. But this took time. 

Lord Thomond's rebellion in February 1570 forced Fitton to retire 
into Galway and ask for help. The course of events is obscure, but 
Fitton remained there for some time, and the Lower Bourkes rose 
in rebellion. They did not submit when Lord Thomond fled. Fitton 
marched against them in June, and began by laying siege to the 
castle of Shrule. With him were Lord Clanricard and others of 
Galway, about five hundred Gallowglasses of Clan Donnell of Leinster, 
of Clan Sweeny, and of Clan Dowell, some artillei-y, three hundred 
cavalry, and some English foot bands. Feragh MacDonnell of 
Clooneen and Richard Barrett of Kyrennan were with him. The 
1 i-.I'./.E., XXXI. (i, XXXI. 89. 


latter probably joined him rather fioin hate of the Tirawley Bourkes 
than from love of the queen and her government. 

MacAVilliam assembled his forces, in which were the sons of Oliverus, 
Sleight Meyler Bourke, the Clan Donnells, and some O'Flahertys. 
Though Sir Morogh is mentioned, he is not likely to have been with 
them, as he had been set up by the queen as O'Flaherty in 1569. 
The lawful O'Flaherty or another may have been mistaken for him. 
MacWilliam's brother, \^^alter Cluas le Doinin, " Ear to Storm," was 
the principal commander of the Bourkes. 

The English and Irish accounts of the battle agree substantially. 

On the 21st June the Bourkes occupied a hill near the English 
camp, and formed themselves into compact bodies for the assault, 
dismounting their cavalry. 

Fitton drew vip his men with the Gallowglasses in one body, and 
the cavalry in reserve. 

The charge of the Bourkes was received with a volley of shot, which 
did not stop them. In the close fighting Sir Edward Fitton and 
Captain Bassenet were unhorsed and wounded. Patrick Cusack and 
Calvagh MacDonnell, constable of the queen's Gallowglasses, those of 
Leinster, and others were slain. The Bourkes were driven back by 
the English companies, but the Gallowglasses, except one hundred of 
Clan Sweeny, broke and fled, pursued by the Bourkes for about two 
miles. Fitton's cavalry and some infantry fell on the rear of the 
Bourkes, whose commanders stopped the pursuit and faced the English; 
they did not attack again, but diew off their forces. 

Fitton lost about twelve Englishmen and forty Irish. The Boui^kes 
lost about three hundred, including Walter Bourke, Randall, son of 
MacDonnell Gallowglass, two constables of the Clan Donnell of 
Scotland, and two sons of John Erenagh, O'Kelly of Donamona." 

Owing to want of powder Fitton could not pursue the Bourkes into 
their country, whereby they were encouraged, instead of being 
depressed by defeat, for they had in fact saved their country from 
invasion. He was not molested again, took the castle, and put the 
garrison to the sword. A guard of ten horsemen was left in it under 
Alexander, a Gallowglass, but Lord Clanricard soon undertook to 
guard the castle at his own expense. This affair relieved the pressure 
on Fitton's forces, which had been so great that Captain Collyer and 
others sent to help him had been reported to be little better than 
besieged in Galway. 

MacWilliam soon submitted and made peace. An undated Fiant 
grants pardons to him and to his sons Richard Og and Thomas Roe 
and others, including three O'Flahertys, on payment of fines of ,£3 
each ; and another gives pardons to Walter and William Bourke 
MacShane of Cloghans and to Walter's son Meiler and to Edmond 



MacThomas an Machaire ou payment of fines of £1 each, for whom 
Edmund FitzAlexander, the sheriff of the county, was security. 
Edmond Bourke of Castlebar had a pardon in December. All had to 
give security within six months for keeping the peace and attending 

This rebellion was wound up by an agreement of the Lower 
Bourkes to pay a yearly rent of 200 marks to the queen. 

Richard Bourke died at the end of the year. When he became 
MacWilliam he was an independent prince, owning but a nominal 
subordination and submission to the queen, whose laws were not 
enforced in his territories. Before he died the English law was intro- 
duced with his consent, and was administered to a small extent by 
the queen's representative independently of him. The queen's power 
afterwards fluctuated, occasionally disappeared, but on the whole 
grew steadily. 

Now follows a period of transition from the local sovereignty of 
the chief lords to that of the queen and the establishment of her 
government as the source of law and the maintainer of order. As 
regards Mayo, it may be described as a period of unrest, but generally 
peaceful. It was known that the government intended to make 
great changes, and, as it became known that those changes might 
involve changes in ownership of lands and ignoring of existing 
tenures, the minds of all landowners must have been affected by 
grave suspicions, creating a readiness to join in any enterprise that 
might relieve them of this danger. Most of the chief lords seem to 
have desired the introduction of a strong government capable of 
steady administration, but many of less importance, their subjects, 
resented any change. The chiefs could not control those who chose 
to join in a rebellion on their own account. They could only abstain 
and keej) back those who chose to act with them, who were the 
majority in most cases. The forces at the disposal of the governor 
of Connaught were not enough to enable him always to act at once 
and crush out the beginning of rebellion. The rebels made war by 
plundering those who did not join them. MacWilliam and other 
lords therefore acted upon a sound judgment of the interests of the 
mass of their subjects in joining rebels who made head, whereby they 
saved their territories from injury. When the governor came in 
force they could submit immediately, and gain paidons at the cost of 
small sums, far less than the losses which would have been incurred 
in holding out against the rebels and suffering the destruction which 
would have been caused by the rebels before forces were collected to 
<lrive them out of the country, losses which would not have been 
made good to them afterwards. The sympathies of many of their 
subjects, if not their own, would be with the rebels. 


Moreover, the uncertainty regarding the succession of the seigniories 
was another cause of unrest. The government was natui-ally anxious 
to secure a friendly successor. The Tanist did not feel sure that he 
would be allowed to succeed without interference. The country had 
seen the queen set up Murrough ne Doe O'Flaherty as chief of 
lar-Connaught against the lawful chief, ])onnell Crone O'Flaherty, 
in 1569. 

Through all this the government was making way. Mayo was 
fully organised as a county, and a separate sheriff was established. 
Seigniories were surrendered, and taken back from the Crown. The 
chief gentlemen were induced to enter into agreements called com- 
positions, under which they consented to pay a fixed rent based on 
the acreage of cultivated land to mitigate the weight of cess, which 
was a necessity, until a revenue should be provided. As Fitton says, 
it was intolerable, but soldiers could not be maintained without it. 
It was a custom of the country, but no longer suitable. 

John II., 1571-1580. 

About the 8th February 1571, John, known as Shane MacOliverus, 
was made MacWilliam. It was reported then that he was engaging 
Scots. It was a natural course to maintain his succession and the 
position of his subjects and allies in view of the action which Fitton 
soon reported, and which had probably become well known. On the 
9th March Fitton wrote that they had indicted all the gentlemen of 
Eighter Connaught and all their freeholders, and O'Conor Donn and 
MacDermot, and expressed a hope to have half Connaught at the 
queen's disposal in Easter term. This design was brought to naught 
by the rebellion, which was probably in some measure due to it. 

In May the Lower Bourkes agreed to pay 200 marks yearly as a 
fine for their late great rebellion. 

Operations in Roscommon occupied Fitton during the summer. 
MacWilliam and bis people held aloof, but his sons invaded Galway 
at the end of September, and were hunted out by the sheriff, who 
pursued them to a ford beyond Shrule, and killed five or six score. 

Fitton went into South Mayo, and was there for five days, at the 
end of October and beginning of September. He had his own band. 
Captain Collier's band of foot, and Malbie's horse, and was accom- 
panied by Lords Clanricard and Thomond. One castle was defended, 
but being taken and the ward of twelve men being slain, the wards 
of the other castles abandoned them and the Bourkes themselves fled 
from the country. Fitton therefore laid it waste over an extent of 
about sixteen miles long and as many or more broad, destroying 


about c£500 worth of corn. Kineteen towns and ciistles are said to 
have been taken, whereof a list is given. Those which are known 
for certain are given in modern spelling — Ballinrobe, Ballenemask, 
JNIanegerrelough, Cloonagashel, Robeen, Bellanalube, Cregduff, Balla- 
kinoshine, Cloghan (warded by the Earl of Clanricard), Killernan 
(warded by John Boui-ke), Downerage, The Neale, Donka, Athard, 
Liskillen, Cloghan-Erle (warded by the Earl of Clanricard), Ballene- 
kinie, Kilnanardra.^ The list is very roughly written. Manegerre- 
lough seems to be Rathnegarlogy or llanegarlogy, name of land held 
by Bourke of Cloghan in seventeenth century, which was in a 
bally called Cloongawnagh. It may be a name of the castle of 
Garrymore or Carras ; it was certainly thereabouts. Fitton then gave 
out that he would go home, and sent away all but his English forces. 
With these he made a forced mai-ch into the country of the Mac- 
Dermots, whom he handled sevei'ely. 

This scourging bi'ought about a submission. The indictments were 
abandoned. Lord Clanricard and his sons, Ulick and John, and 
]\Iac\\'illiam, and the gentlemen of Clare and Galway and Mayo, 
attended a sessions at Galway in March 1572. 

Unfortunately suspicions arose in the minds of the earl's sons, 
who fled from the town, summoned their adherents, and went into 
rebellion. Fitton carried Lord Clanricard away to Dublin. He was 
not able to take the field until May. He reached Galway on the 
10th, where he hanged four pledges of the rebels. On the 14th he 
attacked the castle of Clare Galway, which he describes as the castle 
of those who betrayed Shane MacOliverus. He lost four men and a 
mason killed, but the garrison surrendered and the castle was seized 
on the 17th. The garrison, sixteen men, besides women and children, 
were put to the sword except one. He sent to Shane MacOliverus 
the head of his betrayer, and arranged payment of his ransom. The 
inference to be drawn from this is that the occupiers of the castle 
had joined in seizing John when he was going home after the sessions, 
and held him until he paid a ransom. 

At this time Fitton expected that the Lower Boui'kes would not 
go against him. The expectation was no doubt just. But Fitton 
was too weak to prosecute the rebels under the earl's sons, who 
destroyed all Connaught that did not join them. The earl's sons 
therefore obtained MacWilliam's adhesion in June, and they and 
MacWilliam and Justin MacDonnell went to Munster to help James 
FitzMauiice in his rebellion. The lord deputy made a hosting, and 
drove them out of Munster. 

In the autumn Lord Clanricard was released to act against his 
sons, who begged for mercy on 9th November. MacWilliam also 
1 S.P.I.E., vol. XXXIV. No. 15. 


desired to submit. In the middle of December the rebel forces dis- 
persed. The earl's sons and their adherents had attained their chief 
object, their own safety and his release, and immunity from punish- 
ment for themselves and their adherents. John had saved his 
country, which was left in peace until 1576. 

This peace was utilised to further the county organisation. The 
results are embodied in a paper called the Division of Connaught 
and Thomond, dated 27th March 1574. i It is said to have been 
made partly by the president and council of Connaught, where they 
had travelled, and partly by Sir Thomas Cusack and other com- 
missioners. It embodies the results of the rough surveys which had 
been made from time to time. As might be expected, the county of 
Galway is dealt with in most detail. The part relating to Mayo is 
less full, and the description of the county of Sligo is a mere sketch 
of territories. It is but a development of the division of 1570. 

Thomond became the county of Clare. Galway was much as it is, 
save that it included Ballymoe in Roscommon as part of MacDavid's 
lands, and Moycarn as part of Clanmacnowen, and did not include 
the barony of Ross. Roscommon was as it is, less Ballymoe and 
Moycarn. Mayo comprised the territories which were under Mac- 
William Eighter. The county of Sligo comprised the present 
county and the O'Rourk territory, the present county of Leitrim ; 
but Ardnarea estate was in Mayo. 

The following extract shows how the baronies of the Co. Mayo 
were now formed. The spelling is modernised, or put in Irish form 
as far as possible. 

"The County of Mayo — containing Eighter Connaught and such 
other countries as are under MacWilliam Eighter, and are divided 
into baronies to be named as foUoweth, but the same county is not yet 
divided into ploughlands, by reason whereof the parishes could not 
be put in order of the baronies, but are written by themselves. 

" Baronies : Crossboyne, containing MacMaurice's country ; 

" Kilmaine, containing Conmacnecuile and lochtar Thire, in which 
William Burke Fitzjohn, Edmond Burke MacThomas Yaghery, and 
the clan Jonyns are chief ; 

" Ross, containing the Joyes', the Walshes', and Partriches' lands, 
MacThomas and MacTybod chief ; 

"Murrisk, containing Owle Imale and the lands,- viz., Inishturk and 
Inishark, Cliara and Aukilles,^ O'Malley chief ; 

" Burris, containing Owle Clan Philipin, Owle Eighter, and Sliocht 
MacTybbot's lands, Richard an larainn chief ; 

" Invermore, containing Erris and Dundonnell, MacWattin chief; 

1 Lambeth Library, Carew MSS. voL 611, f. 234. 

2 Islands!?). ^ Clare Island and Achill. 


" Moyne, containing TiruAvley and the Cusucks' country, John 
MacOliverus, otherwise Mac William, and MacWattin, called Baron 
Barrett, chief ; 

" Burriscarra, containing C'lancuan, Carra and ^Nluinter Crechain, 
MacWilliam Burke, and MacPhilipin, chief ; 

" Bellalahen, containing Gallenga, MacJordan, otherwise Baron 
Dexeter, chief ; 

" Bellahaunis, containing Clan Costello, MacCostello, otherwise 
Baron Nangle, chief." 

The barony of Iloss was treated as part of lar-Connaught in the 
composition, as in the lordship of O'Flaherty, to whom the castle and 
lands of Ross had been given as an eric. The " Historia et Genealogia 
Familije de Burgo " omits it from the territories owing allegiance and 
tribute to MacWilliam. The arrangement was made before 1570, 
but the barony was considered to be in MacWilliam's country, held 
under him by O'Flaherty. The Partry portion was still earlier 
transferred to Carra. 

Sir H. Sidney came again as lord deputy at the end of 1575, to 
endeavour to induce the lords to receive sheriffs and to surrender 
their Irish tenures and take back their lands by the queen's patent, 
to descend by hereditary succession according to English law. This 
object was attained in Connaught by degrees. 

A letter ^ of Sir E. Fitton shows the state of Connaught at this 
time, and explains the willingness of the country to accept Sir H. 
Sidney's proposals, which gave a hope of peace and ease : — 

" I may (after the common manner of Ireland) say it is quiet, 
because we hear of no professed rebellion against the State ; but if 
universal oppression of the mean folk by the great ; if murders, 
robberies and burning make an ill Commonweal, if extorting of 
Government into subjects hands by violent plaguing of such as be 
both willing and of ability to live vipon themselves without seeking to 
any but Her Majesty and the Laws ; to conclude, if contempt and not 
performance of all orders sent either by the Lord Deputy or us Com- 
missioners there, and if ill, or not answering at all of any revenue due 
to Her Majesty be proofs of disobedience : then I cannot say Con- 
naught is in good case. But leaving both the time and manner of 
amendment to God and Her Majesty, I cease to trouble your Lordship 
any further therewith, omitting to say anything at all of God or good 
life. Only the Kellys yet stick as well as they may, and as Kicodemus 
came to Christ by night, so do those Kellys which dwell by west the 
Suck, most of them come to us as privily as they can, for fear both of 
displeasure and trapping by the way. But those between Suck and 
Shannon, neighbours to Athlone, are in meetly good case, and the 
1 S.PJ.E., XL. 11 ; uth Jau. 1575. 


better for that some part of the Garrison hath lien at Athlone good 
part of the Summer, which hath both feared them from doing so much 
ill as they would, and also preserved them from others : which two 
points, till both they and others taste of at full, as they (God wot) 
feel yet but a little, obedience can in no reason be looked for." 

Sidney came to Galway in March 1576, and left on the 22nd for 
Athlone. Though he was not long in Connaught, he had prepared 
the Connaught lords by sending Thomas Jones, afterwards Bishop 
of Meath, to sound them regarding his proposals while he was in 

Sidney's account of the state of things in Connaught makes 
intelligible the readiness of the chieftains to accept a supremacy 
which promised them peace. Unfortunately the Pi'ovincial Govern- 
ment was not made strong enough to hunt down and hang rebels at 
once. The country was ruined by petty rebellions of men like Lord 
Clanricard's sons, who could rob, burn, and destroy until additional 
forces were collected. In extremity they got pardons on terms of bare 
submission. The rebellions were never general, and were suppressed 
very much with the help of the local gentry as soon as a force came 
into Connaught strong enough to enable them to act. The Governors 
of Connaught always had willing assistance. But the leaders of the 
mischief were not punished. Sidney hanged many malefactors at 
Galway on this occasion, but later on the great rebels, whose execution 
would have quieted the counti-y and protected honest men, were gently 
dealt with. 

As regards Mayo chiefs, his own words,^ in modern spelling, are as 
follows : — 

"Out of the county of Mayo, came to me to Galway, first seven 
principal men of the Clandonnells, for every of their several Lineages 
one, of that surname, and inhabiting that County, all, by profession, 
mercenary Soldiers, by the name of Galloglas ; they are very strong, 
and much of the wealth of the country is under them ; they are able 
to go where they will, and with the Countenance of any mean Lord 
of Force, to make war with the Greatest. These humbly submitted 
themselves, and their several Lineages to her Majesty, protesting, by 
oath, and binding themselves by Indenture and Hostage, never to 
serve any, but with Allowance of the Governor. Troth it is, I was 
informed by Divers Advertisements, that MacWilliam Ewghter would 
not come to me ; and therefore I drew this Plot, that I won his chief 
Force from him, in getting these Clandonnells : But it fell out other- 
wise in the End, for MacWilliam very willingly came himself ; and 
much the rather, by the good Persuasions, and Means of the Dean of 
Christchurch, one of this council, whom I sent into Connaught, when 
1 Carew MSS. II., No. P.8 of 1576; S.P.I.E., LV. 34, 27th April 157ti. 


I went into ]Munster, only to sound the Disposition of the Potentates, 
and great ones of that Province ; and therein lie did good service, and 
surely so he is well able, both for his own skill, and the credit that 
others repose in him ; if it please your Lordships to bestow a thankful 
letter upon him, it will be very comfortable to the old ]\Ian, which I 
humbly beseech your Lordships to do. I found M;icWilliam very 
sensible, though wanting the English tongue, yet understanding the 
Latin ; a lover of Quiet and Civility, desirous to hold his Lands of the 
Queen, and suppress Irish Extortion, and to expulse the Scots, who 
swarm in those quarters, and indeed have almost suppressed them ; in 
some Proof whereof he tarried with me, most of the Time I remained 
at Galway, and thence went with me to Athlone, and departed not till 
I went from thence, when very reverently, by Oath, he shewed his 
fealty, and did his Homage, as Humbly binding himself, as well by 
Oath or Indenture, ever hereafter to hold his Lands of her Majesty, 
and her Crown, and to pay yearly two hundred and fifty Marks 
Sterling, and to find two hundred Soldiei-s, Horsemen and Footmen, 
for two Months by the Year ; and to give them Food in that Propor- 
tion, as I trust, in Time, shall suifice both for their Meat and Wages. 
In one of his Petitions exhibited unto me, he humbly besought 
(doubting that I would have taken away the Bonnaught from the 
Clandonnells, which they have of him and his counti'y) that they 
might (withdrawing it from him) hold it of the Queen. This Device 
was underhand practised by me, and they, very glad of this Overture 
made by him, humbly desired to hold it of her Majesty, and so, by 
Indenture passed between the Galloglas and the Queen, they presently 
do. This, my Lords, is an entrance of no small Consequence, both for 
the reducing of the Country to her Majesty's Obedience, and no small 
Increase may be made besides to her Commodity, and the Augmenta- 
tion of her Pvevenue. He received his Country at my Hands, by Way 
of Seneschalship, which he thankfully accepted. The Order of 
Knighthood I bestowed upon him, whereof he seemed very joyous, 
and some other little Trifles I gave him, as tokens between him and 
me, wherewith very well satisfied, he departed. This is all I thought 
necessary to write of MacWilliam, saving that he was desirous I 
should send thither an English sheriff, as I have likewise done in all the 
other Counties within that Province, which, of late, hath been omitted : 
MacWilliam pi-otested he would obey him I sent, and give him Find- 
ing for a sufficient Strength of Men on Horseback and Foot ; which I 
accomplished according to his Desire, and sent one with him. Surely, 
my Lords, he is well won, for he is a great man ; his Land lieth along 
the West North West Coast of this Realm, wherein he hath many 
goodly Havens, and is a Lord in Territory of tluee times so much 
Land as the Earl of Clanricarde is. 


"He brought with him all his Brethren, MacPhillippiii, who in 
Surname is a Bourke, as he is ; and, besides them, a great Number of 
Owners of Lands and Castles, lying in the same counti-y : Omaylle 
came likewise with him, who is an original Irish Man, strong in 
galleys and Seamen ; he earnestly sued to hold of the Queen, and to 
pay her Rent and Service. At that instant were also with me 
MacPhaten, of English surname, Bai-rett ; Maclvyle, of English sur- 
name, Staunton ; MacJordan, of the like Dexter, MacCustelo of the 
like Nangle, MacMorris, of English surname, Prendergast ; and 
these V show Matter of some Record and Credit, that they have not 
only been English, which every man confesseth, but also Lords and 
Barons in Parliament, as they themselves affirm ; and surely they 
have Lands sufficient for Barons, if they might wield their own 
quietly ; but so bare, barbarous Barons are they now, as they V have 
not three Hackneys to carry them and their Train Home. There 
were with me many more of lower Degree, and no deeper of Wealth, 
as the Chiefs of Cianandros, and MacThomyn ; both they, and many 
more Barretts, Cusackes, Lynches (Lynots?), and of sundry English 
surnames, now degenerate, and all lamenting their Devastation, and 
with one Consent crying for Justice and English Government, in so 
miserable (and yet magnanimous) Manner, as it would make an 
English Heart to feel Compassion with them ; and thus for the County 
of Mayo." 

The lords and gentlemen of Galway and Roscommon are described 
as showing a like desire for the introduction of government amongst 

Soon after this Sir John was made seneschal of his nation and of 
his tenants and followers, and of his and their lands in Connaught, 
with authority to call the inhabitants to arms and to preserve the 
peace and to administer justice ; for life during good behaviour. 
This was followed by the appointment of minor and subject lords to 
be seneschals of their own lands, as Moyler Burke of Cloghans to be 
seneschal of the barony of Kilmaine, O'Malley to be seneschal of the 
barony of Oulymaley, Thomas Keaghe Burke to be seneschal of his 
country called Moyntercreghan. Thus it was, I suppose, thought to 
accustom them to the idea of dependence on the Crown. 

The earl's sons wei'e taken to Dublin and released on parole not to 
cross the Shannon. At the end of June they broke their parole, went 
into Connaught and raised a rebellion. At the end of July Nicholas 
Malbie was sent from England to take charge of Connaught. On the 
13th August Sidney reported that 2000 Scots had joined them and 
were wasting Connaught. MacWilliam stood by his engagements. 
The rebels under Ulick Burke therefore invaded his country, laid it 
waste and took his castles. But he continued to do his best against 


them, though his own gallowghxsses turned against him and spoiled 
his counti y. 

Sidney came to Connaught. On the 21st September he left Galway 
and marched by Shrule to Castlebar, which was already besieged by a 
force which he had sent in advance. The castle was held by the sons 
of Edmund Bourke. Their mother came to get terms for her sons, 
which Sidney refused. But he allowed her to speak with them. 
They escaped in the dark. Meanwhile MacWilliam had surprised the 
Scots, who had collected their plunder in a place five or six miles 
away. They ran away and left their prey. Mac\Villiam then joined 
Sidney, who put him in possession of Castlebar, to be kept for the 
queen's use, and of other castles of which he had been dispossessed. 

Sidney intended to go on to Sligo, but the Moy was in flood, and he 
had no boats and his soldiers were tired. Moreover O'Conor and his 
Clandonnells came thence with the rest of that country, and the Scots 
had fled, abandoning Ulick Burke, who joined his brother in Galway. 
So Sidney returned to Dublin, leaving Sir N. Malbie in charge of 
Connaught, with the title of Colonel and Chief Commissioner, with 
certain forces and the castles of Athlone and Roscommon as garrisons. 
According to a deposition made before Malbie by Richard Og 
Bourke, son of Richard, son of John of the Termon, Lord Clanricard 
had sent him to engage 10,000 Scots, if possible, for this rebellion. 
The earl was sent to London. His sons surrendered in March 1577, 
escaping punishment. 

In his narrative, written in 1583, Sidney writes that when he 
reached Galway on this occasion, " There came to me also a most 
famous feminine sea captain called Grany Imallye, and offered her 
■service unto me, wheresoever I would command her, with thi-ee 
galleys and 200 fighting men, either in Ireland or Scotland ; she 
brought with her her husband, for she was as well by sea as by land 
more than Mrs. Mate with him ; he was of the Xether Burkes, and 
now as I hear Mack William Enter, and called by nickname Richard 
in Iron. This was a notorious woman in all the coasts of Ireland." 

She went to the south in the following year. When the Lord Justice 
Drury went into Munster in November 1578, he wrote that when he 
was at Leighlin, " To that place was brought unto me Granie ny 
Maille, a woman of the province of Connaught, governing a country 
of the O'Flaharteys', famous for her stoutness of courage and person, 
and for sundry exploits done by her by sea. She was taken by the 
Earl of Desmond a year and a half ago, and has remained ever since 
partly with him and partly in Her Majesty's gaol of Limerick, and 
was sent for now by me to come to Dublin, where she is yet re- 
maining." ^ It does not appear what she had done, but in July 1578 
1 Cal. Carew MSS. II., 1.578, Xo. 109. 


she was called a notorious offender. This is her first appearance in 

MacWilliam joined Malbie in an expedition in 1577, in which 
Bundrowes was taken from O'Donnell and given to O'Oonor Sligo. 
O'Donnell invaded Sligo and killed the sheriff, Richard, son of Tibbot 
Boy MacSeonin. 

In 1578 Meiler, son of Walter, son of John of the Termon, Sheriff 
of Mayo, was killed in a night attack on the Neale Castle by his 
cousin Edinond, son of Thomas an Machaire, in consequence of a 
quarrel the day before. 

The queen's instructions to Sir N. Malbie in March 1579 for his 
government of Connaught desire him to persuade, if he can, but not 
to constrain, the people of each county to build a walled town as a 
safe and suitable place for keeping the assizes and sessions, and 
authorised the issue of a charter of incorporation with the liberties 
usually granted in such cases elsewhere. A draft in Walsingham's 
hand contains clauses, omitted finally, showing an intention to grant 
to Sir John Bourke an earldom for life, and to his son and his heirs a 
barony with estates, according to English law, of so much as was 
their own. 

In July 1579 Malbie reported Connaught to be in a good state. 
MacWilliam attended sessions at Galway, thereby showing loyalty and 
a disposition to support the administration of the law. He sent his 
son William to be brought up under Walsingham at the Queen's 
Court, with a letter from INIalbie, who described William as Sir John's 
only legitimate son. 

Sir James FitzMaurice landed at Smerwick on the 18th July, and 
wrote to Justin MacDonnell and to Randall MacColla MacDonnell, 
asking them to come with as many gallowglasses as they can get. 

In August Connaught supplied 600 English and Irish well furnished, 
and had 1000 more ready to come with MacWilliam. Even in 
September Malbie was able to report that none in Connaught would 
promise anything to Sir James. When the Earl of Desmond re- 
belled he also sought help, but got none except from Richard an 
larainn, whose rising made Malbie return from Munster. His 
relation of his proceedings is here abstracted, or given in inverted 
commas, as it is one of the very few detailed accounts v/e have 
of the work of suppressing a petty rising. Richard had very 
little help except from the weak clans of the mountainy country 
and the Clandonnells. 

The Earl of Desmond sought to raise up trouble in Connaught, and 
he and Dr. Sandars wrote to MacWilliam and to Lord Clanricard's 
sons, to Richard an larainn, next in authority to IMacWilliam, to 
Clandonnells and MacSwynes, urging them to join the rebellion for 


sake of church and country. None wouUl join, ami some even sent 
Malbie the letters, except Richard an larainn, who trusted to the 
strength of his remote country in the north-west " environed with 
woods, bogs, and mountains, where (to any man's memoiy) no English 
Governor hath been at any time, and encouraged the (Jlandonnells 
to give the English occupation. These Clandonnells were accounted 
always an invincible people, and the most strongest sept of Galloglas 
in Ireland, and the only men of force in Connaught, Richard In 
Yeren, having thus won the Clandonnells, joined unto him also the 
O'Mayles, Clangibbons, Ulick Bourke's sept, and certain of the 
O'Flaherties, whereby he thought himself very strong." 

Richard failed to hire Scots from the Isles, but got 100 bows from 
Ulster. He took his forces first into O'Kelly's and Lord Athenry's 
countries, and then with 1000 men plundered Moylurg. Malbie, 
having returned from Munster, arranged with O'Conor Sligo and 
O'Rourk that they should prevent Scots from landing or coming from 
Ulster, and should turn them out of their countries. He did not call 
up the rising out, but relied on the two bands of foot who were in the 
province, and on 100 horsemen and 400 foot, English of the Pale and 
others who had served before, who were to have their pay and expenses 
from the countries of the rebels. After a delay of three weeks, caused 
by his being called to Dublin, he started from Athlone on the 6th 
February 1580, and went to Athenry, whence he sent on the captains 
of his forces to take Richard's plunder before his arrival. The Arch- 
bishop of Tuam and Lord Athenry met him at Shrule on the 11th, 
and accompanied him the rest of the way. On the 12th he marched 
to Liskillen, where Thomas Roe Bourke and Justin MacDonnell, two 
of Richard's chief confederates, came without protection and sub- 
mitted. On the same day a party of his men entered MacDonnell's 
country, and brought two hundred cows to camp. 

"The 13th I moved from Liskillen to MacDonnell's castle called 
Clooneen ; I caused the castle to be sapped by masons which I 
brought for that purpose, and, the castle being ready to be over- 
thrown, MacDonnell's friends entreated that he might be received 
to favour, and at their request I was content to speak with him, after 
which conference the said MacDonnell delivered one of his sons to 
my hands as a pledge for his good behaviour and observation of the 
peace for himself and his sept, and for satisfying all former hurts and 
spoils by him and his men committed upon all or any of Her Majesty's 
subjects, and to restore unto them by my order, all such goods and 
cattle as they took from them, whereby all the galloglass of the Clan- 
donnells were plucked from Richard an larainn. After this conclusion 
I rested the next day, being the 14th February, at MacDonnell's 


"The 15th I removed to the fields near Ballintvibber, where 
Mac William and his men, with the chief gentlemen of the country, 
came to me and joined their forces with my company. 

" This day the forces which I have entertained took the strong 
castle of Donamona from Shane McHubert, called Parson of the same, 
chief counsellor to Richard an lai-ainn, and put the ward, both men, 
women, and children, to the sword, wherevipon all the other castles in 
the enemy's country were given up without any resistance. 

"The 16th I removed to Ballyknock, whither Grainne ni Maille 
and certain of her kinsmen came to me. 

"The l7th I removed to Burrishoole, an abbey standing very 
pleasant upon a river side, within three miles from the sea, where a 
ship of five hundred tons may lie at anchor at low water. It hath 
a goodly and large lough on the upper part of the i-iver, full of great 
timber, grey marble, and many other commodities of all -sides, not 
without great store of good ground, both arable land and pasture. 
Specially it hath a very plentiful iron mine and abundance of wood 
every way. Towards the sea coast there lieth many fair islands, rich 
and plentiful of all commodities ; there cometh hither every year likely 
about fifty English ships for fishing ; they have been before this time 
compelled to pay a great tribute to the O'Malleys, which I have 
forbidden hereafter till Her Majesty's pleasure be known. It is 
accounted one of the best fishing places in Ireland for salmon, herring, 
and all kinds of sea fish. 

" Richard an larainn, considering that the Clandonnells forsook 
him, and that he was narrowly persecuted by me and my companions 
on all parts of the country', not being able to keep the field nor make 
any other resistance, abandoned the country, and fled into the islands 
with his Scots and some gentlemen of his retinue. 

" This day I took order that the abbey of Burrishoole aforesaid 
should be fortified and strengthened, and that all the castles of the 
country standing upon straits, should be warded and kept for Her 
Majesty, and that a captain with one hundred men should lie in 
garrison at BuiTishoole Abbey, and all this to be done without any 
charge to Her Majesty. MacWilliam also, and his brother Richard 
MacOliverus Bourke and the chief gentlemen of the country, having 
considered the great benefit and commodity which might grow to the 
whole country if a walled town were built and erected at Burris, made 
humble request unto me to be a mean for them to Her Majesty for 
the building of a town there, as by their petition exhibited unto me 
doth appear, and MacWilliam not only promised that his country 
should contribute to the same, but also made gift to Her Highness 
of seventeen quarters of land joining to it. I promised to move the 
matter, and would take no knowledge upon me that I had any order 


for it before from Her Majesty, because I would have it come of 

"The 18th llichard an larainn sent unto me to receive him to 
favour, and that he would \n\t in his pledge and abide my order in 
all things, whereupon I appointed the Baron of Athenry to go and 
speak with him, who found him very reasonable, and both sorry for 
what he hath done, and willing to make the best amends he could, 
so as upon his report I was content he should come and speak with 
me, but the wind blew so great as in six days he could not come out 
of the islands, during which time he sustained great misery by hunger 
and cold, whereby one hundred of his people were dead and starved 
within the islands. 

" This day the force which I entertained took a great prey out of the 
Owles from the O'Malleys and Clangibbons, whereupon they came to 
me immediately and submitted themselves. The 19th I sent a number 
of men to the isles of Achill for boats to set upon the islands, but the 
tempest was so great as they could do nothing. 

"And for that Ilichard an larainn's chief confederates forsook him, 
and were at my commandment, and that he himself was to come to 
me, I thought good to return home, leaving a sufficient force in the 
country to withstand all attempts. I left oider with the captain of 
Burris to take and receive Richard's pledge in my absence, being 
provoked the rather to return, for that the Lord Justice commanded 
me to . . . met him there [Limerick] about the beginning of March. 
" And so leaving the country in meetly good quiet, and having 
thoroughly suppressed the said rebellion, I departed Burrishoole the 
20th of February and came homeward. This day the storm and 
tempest was so great, and the snow fallen in such abundance, as 
scarce any soldier could travel, the vehemence whereof drew swine, 
sheep, lambs, and other small cattle from the woods to the camp for 
succour against the weather, which greatly refreshed us, being in 
some want of victuals a day or two before." ^ 

Malbie reached Galway on the 2-l:th, rested two days, and sent by 
sea provision for the garrison of Burris. On the 18th March, being 
at Quin on his return from Limerick, he I'eceived from the captain of 
Burris Richard's letter of submission and a report that Richard and 
his chief confederates had given their best pledges. This affair was 
at an end as far as Mayo was concerned. 

In June Malbie reported that MacCostello had given Mr. Theobald 
Dillon Castlemore and a great portion of land, with the consent of 
his clan, as a free gift to induce him to settle among them, and on 
account of the ancient common descent of the Dillons and MacCos- 
tellos. The real object was to secure the help of an Englisliman, who 
1 S.P.I.E., vol. LXXH., No. 39. 


would V)iing others in and strengthen the clan. Though Dillon by 
degrees acquired more land until he got a great part of the barony 
into his hands, they did, I think, gain strength by his presence and 
his followers. 

MacWilliam had now made up his mind to go to England to do his 
duty to the queen. But he never went. 

When O'Rourk rebelled at the end of August, Walter Fada's sons 
joined O'Conor Roe and some O'lvellys in an attack on MacDavid's 
country, which was repelled. Otherwise the Mayo men kept the 

Sir John Bourke died at the end of November. He seems to have 
deserved the character given by the " Four Masters " — " A munificent 
and very affluent man, who preferred peace to the most successful 
war, and who always sided with the sovereign," save that he did not 
always, but nearly always, side with the sovereign. 

Richard an larainn was Tanist, but Sir John's brother Richard 
disputed the succession, as he had formerly disputed the Tanistship. 
The former took up arms, and engaged Scots and made preparations 
to defend his rights against the queen if necessai-y. Matters came 
to a head in February, when Malbie arranged to deal with the affair. 
A long report from Sir N. Malbie gives the particulars of the expedi- 
tion. As a good account of such an expedition, and the dealings 
with the chieftains, and the operations of war, the following abstract, 
with parts in full, is given. 

The Earl of Clanricard's sons confederated with Richard an 
lai-ainn. John Bui-ke arranged the Hill of Doonlaur, three miles 
from Shrule, as a general meeting -place for all the allies, on 
the 1st March. Malbie set out from Athlone, and encamped one 
mile from Doonlaur on the appointed day, occupying certain fords to 
keep the earl's sons from joining. Richard and his forces were six 
miles off. Scouts sent to ascertain the site of Richard's camp were 
seen by Richard's men. I now continue the abstract in the first 
person, as Malbie wrote. 

" Richard's Scots thought he and the Clandonnells had betrayed them 
to me as I had come so near unknown to them. They retired to a 
fastness in Clanmorris. The Clandonnells and Richard's men thought 
the earl's sons had betrayed them. They all scattered to shift their 
cattle and goods away from me. 

" The 2nd March I went forward to camp in Richard's country to 
spoil it. By the way Richard Og, son of late MacWilliam, came to 
me to beg me to spare Richai-d's country until Richard should come 
to me, and asked a safe-conduct in writing for Richard, which I gave. 
Next morning Richard Og came again, saying Richard Inyren re- 
quired to have Captain Brabazon sent to him as a pledge for his safe 


return. I told him I would first see Richard hanged before I would 
do that dishonour to Her Majesty, and that if he did once utter any 
word again in any such matter, he should have no peace at my hands, 
but all extremity with fire and sword, and that also if he did not 
assure me before that night of his coming to me, I would begin the 
next morning with the town ^ I then lay in, which was Marcus Mac- 
Ynabbe's town, Chief of the Clandonnells. He departed in haste, 
and that evening returned to me bringing with him Feris ^ Mac- 
Donnell, chief son to the late MacDonnell, who declared unto me that 
Mac^Villiam had sent them to assure me that he would come to me in 
the morning and would submit himself to my pleasure. I told them 
there was no Mac William, nor none should be but through Her 
Majesty's assignment and authority, and if they had anything to say 
from Richard Inyren I was ready to give them audience. 

" They renounced that title, and proceeded in Richard's name. 
They asked that Captain Brabazon and some other gentlemen of the 
camp be sent to conduct Richard to the camp, for fear of the soldiers, 
which I did. He came in great fear. 1 reassured him, and required 
the causes of his raising war, levying forces, and paying Scots. He 
answered that, when MacWilliam died and the Lordship of right 
descended to him, sundry friends, and especially the earl's sons, 
infoi'med him that I intended to set vip his enemy Richard Mac- 
Oliverus. I told him he should have ascertained my intentions before 
making war, and that I was no enemy to him, but my duty was to 
uphold every man in his right, &c. 

" He said he really had hoped for mercy, and intended to submit. 
I said he must deserve it by service to Her Majesty. He said he 
would do anything in his power. I said, expel the Scots. He asked 
my help, which I promised. 

" He sent to ascertain their camp, which was in a fastness under a 
high mountain.-^ Kext morning I sent on about one hundred horse- 
men to discover their camp, and followed with the foot and Captain 
Brabazon's horsemen. The Scots skirmished with the horse until I 
came up, and then fled to the woods. We killed nine or ten. 

"Richard Inyren's son joined us from a lake in the neighbourhood. 
He was given some men, who drove the Scots through the wood as 
there were six miles of plain on the other side. I and the rest 
pa.ssed over the high mountains.'* When the Scots were passing the 
plain we kept them in sight, but lost ground, having to go round bogs 
which they crossed. At last we came up with them at the Moy, where 

1 Probably Moelle Castle at Hollymount House, occupied by Marcus in 1574. 

2 Feragh (?). 

* Prol)ably on the west side of Slieve Carna. 

* Either ylieve Carna or Knockspellagadaun. 



they had sent over a foid, up to the chin, their baggage and half 
their men of war. I was first up by goodness of my horse, and with 
twenty men charged them, but by their shot and arrows they beat us 
back, and got over the ford and over a piece of hard ground an 
arrowshot wide, to a great bog which they sought as their pUice of 

" As they left the river we entered the ford, and they came back 
and we retired, and they fired some ai"rows and shot. And then, 
espying Mac William, they railed upon him and danced up and down, 
which was the thing I desired to continvie until the loose footmen 
might come in. This occurred twice. Then they seemed to under- 
stand what I meant, and made off into the bog and thence to the 
great wood before my foot came up. They abandoned many sculls 
and bows, which my men picked up in following them. 

" The Scots thereafter marched clean out of the province. They 
were about 600 men — 180 horsemen, 180 targets, 100 long swords, the 
rest were darts, shot, and gallowglass axes, all as well appointed men 
as ever I saw for their faculty. 

" I retired myself to the Abbey of Strade, which was about two 
miles. Here abundant supplies of food came in from the country. 

" Next morning, I not expecting it, Richard Inyren himself came 
to me, and fell on his knees, most humbly beseeching the queen's 
pardon, and presenting his submission and petition in writing. I 
lectured him well on his duty, vSaid the queen desired to give mei*cy 
to penitents, and told him to rise MacWilliam, declaring the queen 
sought only to maintain them in their rights, &c, 

" I wrote to Richard MacOliverus to come, who came on the 7th 
without protection or any word from me, for he is a very honest 

" The two Richards began quarrelling at once. Richard Mac- 
Oliverus called Richard Inyren a traitor. Richard Inyren said 
Richard MacOliverus lied. I ordered them both to be silent. They 
then argued their causes fairly. After dinner I saw Richard Mac- 
Oliverus alone, who produced a letter of Sir H. Sidney promising him 
support, but it contained the clause Quousque. I explained to him 
that the right lay with MacWilliam, and must be supported by the 
queen, and he submitted to my judgment, and asked me to do what I 
could to save his credit. After consultation with Lord Bermingham 
and Teige MacWilliam O'Kelly, who were assistants with me in com- 
mission, and MacDavy and Richard Burke of Derrymaclaughney, 
who came on this service, Richard MacOliverus said he would fully 
acknowledge MacWilliam, if he as next senior were given the <£40 
chief rent due to MacWilliam out of Tirawley. 

" MacWilliam flatly refused to give more than £20, which Richard 



MacOlivi-nis flatly refused. Then I arranged that I would give 
MacWilliam £20 of the queen's rent, and that he should give the 
£40 of himself to Richard, keeping my £20 secret. This was 
greatly approved by MacWilliam and my advisers, and accepted. 
So the two were made friends. Richard begged to be made sheriff. 
With MacWilliam's consent I made him. Richard is now very well 

" While seeking peace, during my absence the earl's son TJlick 
took O'Madden's Longford castle. So I hanged his pledge. 

"MacWilliam raised 1200 gallowglasses, and had complete 800. 
Agreed to pay for 700 Scots, and had complete 600. Loose Kerne 
300. Horsemen 20. The earl's sons and O'Briens reckoned 800 
foot, 80 horse. I had not above 460 foot and 80 kerne, and between 
160 and 180 horse. 

'* I required of MacWilliam as a fine for his nomination for Her 
Majesty 100 marks or 100 cows. He was very much pleased, and, 
though I refused at first, insisted on giving me 100 marks for myself, 
as he knew I was at charges for this journey. He kept one of my 
men to bring the money, whom I ordered to leave with him the £20 
for Richard MacOliverus out of it. 

" The charge per annum on MacWilliam's country for the Scots he 
engaged was at the rate of £16,800. They had to fly without pay." ^ 

jNIacWilliam entered into a formal engagement on the 7th March 
at the Togher to banish Scots and rebels, and to pay the 100 marks 
before the 12th April. He made a good bargain, securing the suc- 
cession at a low price, and getting rid of his Scots without payment. 

Richard an larainn was knighted in September. 

About April or May 1582 a fresh disturbance arose, which Malbie 
describes in a letter fi^om Dublin on the 28th May.^ " Connaught 
is well, saving lately that MacWilliam sending his officers with 
some of my horsemen to Richard MacOliverus, brother to the last 
MacW'illiam, deceased, and to the sons of the said MacW^illiam, 
to receive Her Majesty's rents in arrear, which was delivered unto 
them by the country for Her Majesty, the said Richard MacOliverus 
and his nephews quarrelled with the officers and slew some of them 
and three of my horsemen. Whereupon MacWilliam, taking the 
matter in grief, entered their country and slew a son of Richard 
MacOliverus, and a .son of Edmond Bourke of Castlebar, and twenty 
more ; certifying Captain Brabazon, that if he thought that not 
revenge enough, he would prosecute them more ; upon which revenge 
Richard MacOliverus and his nephews put themselves in arms 
against Her Majesty. MacWilliam sent to Captain Brabazon to 
draw down towards him with his forces, who, calling the chief 
1 S.P.I.E., vol. LXXXI. Xo. 42, i. « S.P.I.E., vol. XCII. No. 89. 


gentlemen of the province to him, was also advised by them to 
make head against the others in time ; and so most willingly of 
themselves, with their forces, accompanied him." Captain Brabazon 
had 100 English foot, and 60 horse, and about 800 others, "all 
gentlemen of the country and their rising out." "It is given out 
that the evil dealing with the country people is the cause of their 
revolt ; but I have used this Richard MacOliverus and his nephews 
in better sort than any. It is written to me that they are very 
well chastised already." 

"Walter Kittagh Bourke, Sir John's eldest son, had come in and 
submitted, and Brabazon had garrisoned the castles of Ardnarea 
and Meelick. Richard MacOliverus went to O'Donnell to get Scots. 
He failed, and returned in June. 

An entry in the Annals of Loch Ce relates to this affair, and 
shows how it was regarded by the Irish Annalists. It seems as 
if Walter Fada's sons had invaded Tirawley on their own account. 
I take it that they were acting with MacWilliam, and that this 
is a note of a skirmish between their forces and those of a party 
of rebels. " The sons of Walter Fada went on an expedition into 
Tir-Amhalghaidh, and committed a depredation. The young men 
of the posterity of Rickard Burk overtook them in pursuit, and 
set upon them. The sons of Walter Fada turned against them, 
and the pursuers were routed by superior numbers at Mam-an-ghair, 
in Glenn-dubh, on the southern side of Xeimhfin. Rickard, son of 
Edmond, son of Ulick of Caislen-an-Bharraigh, was killed there ; 
and Edmond Allta, the son of Richard, son of Oliver, was also 
killed there. Ambrose, son of David Ban, and Oliver, son of John, 
son of David Ban, and a good many of their followers along with 
them, were severely wounded there." 

Sir N. Malbie was rebuked when he was in England for having 
spent too much money. Therefore when the invasion in the summer 
led to a serious wasting of the country and increase of rebels, he 
did not put any charge upon the queen or the country to enable 
him to cope with it at once, but contented himself with using the 
garrison and the rising out of the loyal men. 

Though Richard MacOliverus returned in June without Scots, he 
seems to have made some arrangement with O'Neill. Torlogh 
Lynagh sent Con O'Donnell to Connaught on the 3rd July with 
1200 men, of whom 800 were Scots. They came as far as the walls 
of the Castle of Sligo, where an English garrison under O'Conor 
Sligo slew forty of them. O'Donnell plundered O'Conor Sligo's 
country of 2000 cows, and Walter Kittagh at the same time 
plundered all Tireragh. Malbie collected all the rising out of the 
country, and set out from Athlone soon after the 8th July with 


100 English foot and 70 horse, and was back again on the 19th. 
Con, on hearing of his approach, fled in such haste that ten or 
twelve Scots were drowned in crossing the Erne, and most abandoned 
their baggage. Malbie had the country on his side, though his own 
force was small. Richard MacOliverus and Walter submitted on 
the 20th July, but Mac William and O'Conor Sligo warned Malbie 
that though there was not then a rebel in Connaught, he must 
expect the enemy to return in great force. 

On the 28th October Malbie wrote from (lalway that there 
was a great assembly of the nobility. "... William Burke, 
MacWilliam, Richard MacOliverus, Walter Bourke, Murrough ne 
Doe O'Flaherty . . . MacMaurice . . . and many gentlemen and 
their wives, among whom Greny O'Mally is one, and thinketh herself 
to be no small lady, are at present assembled to make a plat for 
continuing the quietness." ^ 

William Bourke, Sir John's son, was made Sheriff of Sligo at the 
end of the year. According to the Four Masters, " Ulick Roe, son 
of Sir John, " was slain in the winter of this year by Thomas 
Wideos, a gentleman of the queen's people ; and all said that he 
was not fairly slain." 

In January of 1583 Theobald Dillon collected the composi- 
tion rents, and arrangements were made for payment of large 

Sir Richard an larainn died on the 3rd day of Easter, according 
to the Annals of Loch Ce. The Four Masters call him " a plundering 
warlike unquiet and rebelliovis man, who had often forced the gap 
of danger on his enemies, and upon whom it was frequently forced." 

He was the husband of Grainne ni Mhaille, better known as 
Grace O'Malley, who survived him for many years. Though she 
is not recognised in the Annals, the English records show that she 
was an imperious, courageous woman, who went plundering upon 
the seas, and had acquired a great reputation on the sea-coasts, 
and who by her abilities and strength of character exercised a very 
great influence in Mayo affairs through her husband and her rela- 
tions. She settled at Rockfleet Castle, near Burrishoole. 

Her son, Tibot na Long, inherited the courage and abilities of 
his parents, and became the principal man in Mayo at the close 
of this century. 

Richard MacOliverus succeeded as MacWilliam, and was knighted 
in November. The succession seems to have been disputed by the 
Sliocht Ulick, as the Four Masters record that, " A great army was 
led by the people of Sir Nicholas Malby, and the sons of the Earl 
of Clanricard, Ulick and John, into lochtar Tire and Umhall Ui 
1 i>.P.I.E., vol. XCVI. No. 37. 


Mhaille, and took a countless number of cattle spoils on that 
occasion, and also burned and totally destroyed Cathair na Mart," 
which was in the demesne of Westport. 

Sir Nicholas Malbie died on the 3rd March 1584. "There came 
not to Erinn in his own time, or often before, a better gentleman 
of the Foreigners than he, and he placed all Connacht under 
bondage. And it is not possible to count or reckon all that this 
man destroyed throughout Erinn ; and he executed many works, 
especially on the courts of the towns of Athluain and Ros Comain." 

He carried the queen's policy a step further. 8ir E. Fitton 
had made her power felt as a permanent authority in Oonnaught, 
far stronger than any single lord, and had accustomed the lords 
to the beginnings of administration. In the western counties the 
petty wars among the minor chiefs were put down. When Sir 
Nicholas came they were ready for the next step, the payment of 
a small composition rent for their territories, the beginning of a 
royal revenue to enable her to give vip the right of cess. They 
had become used to see sessions held at Galway fi'om time to 
time, and to see malefactors punished by her judges. He prepared 
for the system of changing Irish tenures into English tenures, and 
consequent abolition of irregular exactions, by appointing the 
principal gentlemen to be seneschals of their own territories for 
life, with power to assemble and command the inhabitants for the 
defence of the country, the suppression of rebels, and the punish- 
ment of malefactors. They were to attend the president or com- 
missioners of Connaught when required for the queen's service, and 
to obey their directions. 

Thus Moyler Bourke of Cloghans was seneschal of the barony of 
Kilmaine ; Melaghlin O'Malley, chief, was seneschal of Owl Imally ; 
Thomas Keigh Bourke was seneschal of Moynter Creighan. Similar 
grants were made to others. 

MacWilliam Eighter was made seneschal of all his territories. 
The grant to Sir Richard on 8th November 1.583 requires him 
to arrest traitors and felons, and to put them in the gaol of the 
county of Mayo until delivered by law ; to encourage peace, and 
to administer the law as becomes a seneschal, not permitting the 
Brehon's law ; with power to raise his reasonable expenses when 
required by the governor of the kingdom or the president of the 
province to appear in Dublin, Athlone, or Galway. 

The clause regarding the Brehon law shows the intention to make 
English law general, but it related to criminal affairs, not to the 
civil I'ights of persons. It does not appear where the gaol of the 
county was, if there was any, but probably it was kept by the 


sherifT, wherever he lived. It does not appear that sessions were 
hehi in the county in Sir Nichohxs's time. 

These seneschalships seem to have been of little real use, except 
in accustoming men to regard the queen as the fountain of authority 
and justice. On the whole, the changes were very slight in Mayo, 
and directly affected only the chiefs. The great boon to all men was 
the protection against invasion and constant petty fighting, whereby 
the smaller men suffered most. 

The queen's power spread slowly from Gal way over Clare and 
Mayo, and the southern part of Roscommon. The county of Sligo 
was not yet affected much, and O'Rourk's and O'Reilly's countries 
hardly at all. O'Conor Sligo's interests were bound up with the 
queen's, as she could protect him from O'Donnell, and no one else 
could or Avould. Thus, in general, Oonnaught was ready for the 
next stage towards civilisation. 

Writing to Sir F. Walsingham on the 10th June 1585, Mr. 
John Browne gives the following remarks on the county : "In 
the baronies of the three Ovvles, Ross, and MacCostello, they 
have but little corn, and live chiefly by the milk of their cows. 
Tirawley is the greatest barony in the county, and the best peopled, 
and they have more corn and more cattle in that barony than in 
any other. Gallen and Clanmorris are the most impoverished ; 
Gallen, by what was taken there in Sir Nicholas Malbie's time, and 
by the passing and repassing of soldiers there then, and taken by 
the , and by exactions of MacWilliam and MacJordan ; 

Clanmorris by MacMorris's exactions." 


(Fr'tm the Portrait in possession of the Earl of Lucan.) 



Sir N. Malbie began, in Connaiight, the s^-stem of making engage- 
ments on behalf of the queen for services, and rents to be rendered 
to him by such chieftains as he could persuade thereto. They were 
not one-sided; the chieftain gained acknowledgment of his rights 
and support against enemies. A list of 1577 shows only one agreement 
in Mayo, that of MacMorris and David MacMorris on behalf of their 
country, engaging to furnish six horsemen, six shot, fifteen kerne, for 
hostings in the province, and twenty labourers for four days' work 
anywhere within it. It is dated July 22, 1577, and is to take effect 
from September 1 to August 31, 1578. 

A statement of all services due in Ireland made in 1584 embodies 
the results of Malbie's compositions— MacWilliam and the Bourkes 
of Lower Connaught give a rising out of 40 horsemen. Baron 
Dexeter, Baron Nangle, and O'Malley did not give a rising out 
separately, probably because they were bound to render services to 
MacWilliam, and so had to give their share, but otherwise they came 
under MacWilliam's agreement which bound his country to pay yearly 
£166, 13s. 4d., and to find for one quarter of the year meat, drink, 
and wages for 100 of the queen's foot soldiers, taken as ,£327 yearly. 
The MacMorrises compounded separately to pay, in addition to 
former services, 80 fat beeves, or =£54, 6s. 8d. 

By a later composition, the rents of Mayo came to £433, 6s. 

The Lord Justices note on the statement that the increase is due 
to substitution for the old rate of 2d. an Irish acre, which was dis- 
liked, but they do not say how these new rents are calculated. Pro- 
bably some of the labour services and the maintenance of soldiers 
were commuted.^ 

Thus the way was prepared for greater changes. 

Sir John Perrot first sat in Council as lord deputy on June 21, 
1584, when Sir Richard Bingham was sworn as a Privy Councillor, 
having been appointed Govei'nor of Connaught on the 8th May. They 
went together to Galway, and received hostages from MacWilliam. 

1 S.P.I.E., LIX. 71 ; LXIV. 23 ; CVI. 50, 51, 52. 



Sir John visited all Connaught, and all Ireland, receiving submission 

In December 1584 and 1585 many pardons were issued for the heads 
of the chief families, their kinsmen, and dependants. In the absence 
of indication of general disturbance in Mayo, we must look upon them 
as intended to smooth the way for new arrangements by wiping out 
past offences. 

MacWilliam and other Connaught lords are said to have attended 
the Paidiament at Dublin in April 1585, though not themselves of 
either house. This county, like others, was represented by one 

The queen's government thought that the time had come for 
carrying out a main end of their policy which had been long 
sought, the abolition of the oppressive and ruinous practice of cessing 
iipon the country her troops, and the retinues of the governors and 
chief officers, and those of the great lords. But a revenue must be 
raised instead. Sir John Perrot, in continuation of previous agree- 
ments for payment of rent, agreed to give up the cesfe in consideration 
of a sufficient rent upon the land. The lords and chieftains were 
also to take from their tenants and those holding under them a 
similar fixed rent instead of their irregular cuttings and spendings. 
The agreements between them and the queen were called indentures 
of composition, and they wei-e to make similar indentures with their 
tenants and freeholders. Certain lands were allowed free of cess to 
the principal genti-y, a point of great importance to them. The 
seigniories and petty captainships were to be abolished for ever upon 
the death of the existing holders. It was further provided that in 
future all lands were to descend by the English law of inheritance. 

The rent was fixed at 10s. on each quarter of tillage or pasture land. 
Certain levies of soldiers were also to be provided by each country. 

These arrangements were on the whole well devised to carry out 
the change, but unfortunately the queen had not always a sufficient 
force on foot in the province to suppress immediately the violence of 
those who would not accept the consequences of this arrangement 
when they were not to their own liking. 

This agreement brought the rule of MacWilliam in Mayo to legal 
and effective end on the death of Sir Richard Bourke. Though 
MacWilliams were set up again they had no hold on the country, and 
were abandoned by the local gentry whenever the queen's forces 
enabled them to do so with safety. 

Negotiations being completed in Connaught, a rough survey ascer- 
tained the extents of land liable to cess. 

On July 15, 1585, a commission was issued to Sir Richard Bingham, 
Chief Commissioner of Connaught and Thomond, the Archbishop of 


Tuam, the Earls of Thomond and Clanricard, the Bishops of Clonfert 
and Elphin, the Lord Athenry, Sir Nicholas White, Master of the 
Rolls, Sir Edward Waterhouse, Sir Thomas le Strange, members of 
the Privy Council ; Thomas Dillon, Chief Justice of the province ; 
Charles Caltropp, Attorney-general ; Gerald Quemerford, Queen's 
Attorney of the province ; Sir Tyrrelagh O'Brien, Sir Donald O'Con- 
nor Sligo, Sir Brian O'Rourk, Sir Richard Bourke, Sir Morogh ne 
dow O'Flaherty, knights ; Francis Barkley, Provost-marshal of the 
province ; Nicholas FitzSimon of Dublin, alderman ; John Marbury, 
Robert Fowle, and John Bi'owne, gentlemen ; to call before them the 
chiefs and lords of the several baronies in the province of Connaught 
and Thomond, and instead of the uncertain cess accustomed to be 
borne to the Crown for the martial government there, and of the 
uncertain cutting and spending of the lords upon the subjects under 
their rule, to compound with them for a certain rent upon each 
quarter of land in the province ; and further to divide the baronies 
into manors, or lay down any other thing for the quiet of the country. 
After passing of which by indenture tripartite it is meant to be 
ratified by Act of Parliament. They shall make return of their 
proceeding before the end of next Easter term.^ 

The indenture for the county of Mayo bears date of September 13, 
1585. The barony of Ross is included in that of lar-Connaught, and 
the barony of Costello, called of Ballyhaunis, was let stand over on 
account of the wildness of the country. 

The barony of Ross was transferred to the county of Galway by Sir 
W. Fitz William, because the collector of the rent of Galway claimed 
it as included in lar-Connaught according to the indenture, and the 
collector of Mayo claimed it as in his county, and so the inhabitants 
were vexed. 

This instrument was signed by the lords of territories, and by the 
tenants of the principal families who held under them, and may be 
taken as the best means that could be devised to bind the whole 
country. For the country it was a very good bargain. The rent of 
10s. upon each quarter of profitable land was a light payment for 
relief from the queen's right of unlimited cessing of officials and 
soldiers upon the country, which was an undoubted custom, and a 
universal Irish practice, heartily detested by the government which 
was obliged to use it. There was also a small provision of horse and 
foot for service within and without the province. But this was not 
the whole benefit accruing to the country. The abolition of the similar 
customary rights of cessing and of exacting and levying contributions 
possessed by the lords of territories and heads of tribes was perhaps a 
far greater benefit to the people at large. 

^ 15 I). K. Plants, No. 4745. 


MacWilliam surrendered his rents and rights of exaction, and in 
return was allowed the castles and lands of the MacWilliamship, and 
some at least of those of his own inheritance free of cess, together with 
fixed rents out of certain lands, which seem to represent ancient 
rents paid by freeholders of the early fourteenth century, which he 
continued to receive. MacMorris and MacJordan, the two great lords 
of territories, gave up their lents and vmcertain exactions for fixed 
rents. The petty chieftains retained these rights for their own lives 
only, and were allowed such castles and lands as they held in right 
of the chieftainship as pai-t of their inheritance. The descent of 
lands was to be by English law in future That the contract was on 
the whole very satisfactory, we have the practical testimony of the 
people affected by it. Rebellions and complaints were plentiful in 
the next fifteen years, but neither rebels nor loyal subjects asked 
that it should be renounced on both sides, that the queen should 
abandon her rent and resume her rights of cessing and tribute, that 
the chiefs and peoples should resume their chiefries and former 

It will be seen that some chieftain families were willing to keep 
the queen to her part of the bargain so far as they profited by it, but 
wished to avoid paying the price ; they sought to resvime their 
chiefries and to regain their arbitrary power over their tenants and 
followers, to reap all the benefit for themselves and to avoid passing 
on the benefits which were due to those below them. 

Such discontented persons were but few, considering how great a 
change was made. To the smaller people it brought only relief from 
oppression. The families of the chieftains and gentry were satisfied 
to surrender some of their position and power in return for protection 
of life and property, protection against their neighbours and against 
those above them. Their gain was greater than their loss. 

The queen undertook the restoration of the law under this instru- 
ment in conditions which were less favourable than those of the 
twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The radical difference of that 
period remained, but the likeness had disappeared. 

The difference was that the Anglo-Normans were citizens of the 
English state, the Gaels were men of Gaelic families ; the difference 
between the civilised and the uncivilised people, using the term un- 
civilised only to denote the absence of the civil organisation without 
reference to the state of culture of the nation. 

In the time of King Kuaidhri O'Conor the Gael were socially much 
what they were in the time of Conor MacNessa. Under Christian 
influence they had lost the gross brutality which is seen in some 
heathen stories, and had made great advance in literature and the 
arts. Save for the softening of manners, social life habits and 


organisation seem to have changed little. In Queen Elizabeth's 
time they were much what they were in King Ruaidhri's, 

The English of Henry II. 's time brought with them an elaborate 
system of law and judicature in courts rising from those of the lords 
of manors to those of the king, whose courts and whose administra- 
tion kept the whole state together, and secured safety and justice 
usually to all men. Periods of lawlessness occurred at intervals, but 
men on the whole coulcj count on getting justice. It was not the 
system of our days, but it was a system which gave men security for 
life and goods. 

The words judicature and aclmmisf ration express the difference 
which divided the nations. The Gael had no judicature organised by 
a government, only a law worked up by their brehons, their judges, 
who were ready to decide any matter which the parties agreed to 
submit to their judgment ; no force was behind the Brehons as it 
was behind the courts of the English, to bring an unwilling defendant 
before them or to execute decrees. A defendant was, no doubt, com- 
pelled by the public opinion of his neighbours, or by the power of the 
plaintiff and his friends, to submit to trial ; but there was no power 
which would respond to the appeal of the judge as a matter of right. 

No government or administration existed at any time among the 
Gael. It has been suggested that Brian Boru and Torlogh Mor 
nearly formed Ireland into a stable monarchy, but I cannot see a sign 
that they differed from other kings who gained the title " King of 
Ireland." They attained .personal distinction, and gained great profits 
for themselves and their tribes by their conquests. There is no 
evidence that either of them formed or tried to form an administra- 
tion, to govern the country. We cannot detect even a germ from 
which a Gaelic state could have been reared. 

The king of a province differed from the king of a petty tribe 
only in having subject to him several chiefs who were called kings, 
and the King of Ireland differed from another king only in having 
made enough of the provincial kings submit formally to justify the 
use of the title. In heathen times he does seem to have had some 
special religious or other position in the assembly at Tara, but his 
functions as King of Ireland, whatever they were, disappeared. The 
relations between upper and under kings involved only payment of 
tribute and receipt of wages and liability to irregular exaction in the 
way of maintenance, and even less if the under king was strong. 

In culture, manners, and personal habits, English and Gael seem 
to have differed little, in degree, not in kind. In these respects the 
nations easily coalesced. 

Only those who have studied deeply the law and practice of the 
local courts of that time can say with authority that such courts 


could or could not have been established among the Gaelic tribes 
without difficulty, without a complete conquest of each petty king and 
replacing him by an English baron. It seems to me that the English 
organisation under the king and his council and his courts, the courts 
of the barons and of the hundreds and manors which were set up in 
Ireland, might without difficulty have exercised full jurisdiction over 
the Gaelic inhabitants of their district as over the English inhabitants. 
Even the Brehon law relating to tenures of land, inheritance, and 
the like could have been administered as customs of the manor. The 
kings of the Gaels and the chiefs of Tuaths and their sub-chiefs 
answer to the greater and lesser barons and the lords of manors. 
Slight external pressure would have forced them to set up courts of 
their own under their own bl-ehons and to give those courts the 
needful power. They would have worked their courts imperfectly at 
first, but the system would have been established and improvement 
would have followed. In a generation or two the whole country 
would have been under one organisation, the English and Gaelic 
nations would have been drawn into one state, and would not have 
been a Gaelic nation and an English state mixed up together. 

Whether this view be right or wrong. King Henry's treaty with 
King Ruaidhri forbade the attempt by the provision that the Irish 
should use their own laws. It was disastrous because the Gaelic 
kings did not enforce those laws, -and the English royal and local 
courts had no jurisdiction to do so. 

The nations were not far apart in general culture at that time, but 
during the next four hundred years the Gaels, and the English who were 
absorbed by them, were stationary, while the English made so great 
progress in every direction that the two nations were very far apart. 



In the summer of 1585 a man nicknamed Cloasearlykane (Cluas ar 
leacain, " Ear to Cheek "), a follower of Sir M. O'Flaherty, described as 
a Joy, became a wood-kerne and assembled followers — -that is, became 
the captain of a gang of robbei-s and rebels, who robbed in lar-Con- 
naught and the baronies of Clai"e and Kilmaine. Walter Bourke, 
son of Edmund of Castlebar, met him in Thomas Roe Boux'ke's 
island, and thereafter robbed some Galway merchants, killed Jasper 
Martin, and went into rebellion. This Thomas was a son-in-law of 
Edmund, and was of the family of Cloonagashel. 

Some time after this Sir K. Bingham held the first sessions for 
Mayo at Donamona, where the indenture of composition was finally 
settled and signed. Thomas Bourke held aloof in disapproval of the 
composition, although summoned to attend. He shut himself up 
in his castle of the Annagh, on Hag island, in Lough Carra, and 
collected men who robbed the country. Sir Richard therefore ordered 
his arrest. John Carie, the sub-sheriff, found him at MacTibbot's castle 
of the Crigh. He resisted and wounded Carie, but was mortally 
wounded himself. This seems to have occurred very early in 1586. 

John Browne prosecuted Walter Bourke, and took thirty cows from 
him about that time. 

About the same time Cloasearlykane and fifty of his band were 
executed. His head is said to have been taken by Roger O'Flaherty. 
The seventy persons said to have been hanged at the sessions at 
Galway in January 1586 may have comprised some of this gang. 

Sir Richard Bourke died soon after September, whereby the 
succession to the name and profits of MacWilliam came to be settled 
by the lord deputy, to whose discretion it was reserved by the 

It seems that the action of Walter and Thomas Bourke did not 
amount to much, or was ignored as long as possible. It is very 
likely that their deeds were treated as ordinary breaches of the 
law until they assumed a political aspect which could not be ignored, 
towards the close of the year, after the death of Sir R. Bourke, when 
Edmund was not immediately recognised as MacWilliam. 


Edmund of Castlebar, being Tanist, should have succeeded. He 
had lost a leg two years before, and could not take the field. His 
sons, Richard Bourke the Devil's Hook's son, Edmund Ciocarach 
and Walter Ban, sons of David Ban, Oaheer MacDonnell, and others, 
manned Castlehag in Lough Mask and the castle of the Annagh, 
which now belonged to Richard Roe Bourke, who did not openly 
join them, but endeavoured to secure adherents and to hire Scots 
from Ulster. 

Sir Richard Bingham was engaged in the siege of Cloonoan Castle 
in Thomond during the first week of March. Thence he came with one 
hundred men and a few kerne to deal with these Mayo rebels. He 
began by an attempt to persuade them to return to obedience. Upon 
their refusal, he tried to burn a couple of boats which they had in a 
dock under the wall of Castlehag, whereof remains can be seen, in order 
that they might not escape. The water then came up to the castle 
wall, so that there was scarcely room for landing. The attack failed, 
owing to a storm which arose, and failure of some of his boats to 
play the part assigned. His own boat was upset, two or three of his 
men were drowned, and he and the rest were rescued by the other 
boats. The Bourkes secured his boat, and in it and their own escaped 
to the woods before he could arrange for another attack. They 
abandoned also the castle of the Annagh. These two castles and that 
of the Clooneen belonging to Terragh MacDonnell were destroyed. 
Captain Mordant and his company were sent across the lake to 
follow the rebels, who were seventy or eighty in number. 

Richard Roe Bourke, who had come to Sir Richard on his arrival 
in tliis country, was tried by martial law and hanged for having 
joined in the conspiracy and having sent to hire Scots. He was 
known as Fal for Eirionn, the Pale of Ireland. 

Meyler and Tibbot Reagh, sons of Walter Fada Bourke, already in 
custody for endeavouring to hire Scots, being detected corresponding 
with their friends and inciting them to rebellion, were also tried 
by martial law and hanged. William or Ulick, son of Tibbot Reagh, 
son of Richard O'Cuairsci, was also hanged for bringing in Scots and 
for murders which he had committed long before. 

Oliverus and his uncle Thomas, grandson and son of David Ban, 
were hanged in this year, but at what time does not appear, as the 
fact is recorded only generally. Several other Bourkes were killed in 
this year, probably duzing pursuit in the course of these rebellions. 

It is evident that Sir Richard was ready to deal gently with those 
who took up arms themselves, but he and the government were 
relentless to those who sought to bring in foreign forces, as the Scots 
now and the Spaniards later. 

The gentlemen of the country now undei'took to kill or banish all 


the rebels if Sir Richard withdrew his forces. When all was thus 
arranged for complete reduction of the rebels, the lord deputy 
intervened with a peremptory order to give the rebels protection, 
and sent the protection, ready signed, for three months on condition 
of giving pledges. This occurred sometime in April. 

The object of this rising was to secure to Edmund Bourke the 
succession to the MacWilliamship, to which he was entitled as 
Tanist. It was evident that the lord deputy did not intend to 
confer it on him when several months had elapsed. The rebellion, 
it was hoped, would lead to Edmund's succession with a view to 

There is no evidence of Sir John Perrot's reason for this sudden 
interference in a petty rising, but we may infer it to have been in 
consequence of charges made by Francis Barkley, the provost-marshal, 
and Theobald Dillon, the collector of the composition rent, against 
Sir R. Bingham, that he caused the rising by his harsh and cruel 
proceedings. By the end of May Barkley had confessed that he had 
no grounds for such charges, and it was formally found by the 
government in the end that T. Dillon's charges were groundless. 
Meanwhile they were countenanced by Sir John, and there is evidence 
that they were intriguing with the rebels during this summer, and 
encouraging them to hold out in hope of Sir John's intervention and 
his giving them better terms. 

The lord deputy's decision regarding the MacWilliamship was 
announced in May or June. Sir Richard MacOliverus's son William 
got the bulk, including the castles and lands of Lough Mask, Ballin- 
robe, and Kinlough, and the rents of the Kilmaine and Tirawley 
freeholders. Edmund the Tanist got a share which seems to have 
consisted of rents in the Clann Cuain portion of Carra. Three others, 
whose names do not appear, got the rest. 

This division caused great discontent, because William was young 
and had no claim to a preference. Edmund had a grievance because 
he as Tanist had a distinct claim beyond that of any other com- 
petitor. The division did not fall in with clan feeling. We may 
suppose that Edmund's claims were passed over because his sons 
were in rebellion while the matter was pending, and it was thought 
that William would be more dependent on and amenable to the 

The rising was intended to maintain Edmund's cause against his 
competitors. The lord deputy's decision made his cause that of his 
competitors. In the course of June they prepared for action. The 
Bourkes of Castlebar and the Owles were now joined by the other 
Bourkes of Carra and by some of those of Kilmaine, and by Walter 
Kittagh, whose brothers, William of Ardnarea and John an tSleibe, 


were sent to Ulster with Richard MacDemhan an Chorrain, known to 
the English as the Devil's Hook's son, though the name is properly 
the Demon of the Reaping Hook. Several minor families of Bourkes 
joined them, and some other families of less note. They had also the 
support of the Clan Gibbon, Clan Philpin, the Joys, the O'Malleys, 
and .most of the MacDonnells. The lord deputy forbade action 
against them, and sent commissioners to ascertain their demands, 
which the Council found excessive. Then Sir R. Bingham was 
ordered to reduce them to submission. In consequence of this parley- 
ing their numbers I'ose from 400 to 700 or 800, and they were for 
some time free to rob as they pleased. 

Sir Richard ordered his forces to assemble at Ballinrobe, which he 
reached on the 14th July with his own foi^ce of 100 foot and 50 horse. 
Lord Clanricard, with 30 horse and 100 kerne, and Lord Athenry 
and Sir Hubert Burke, MacDavid, met him. Here came also the 
forces which he had levied in the province, 100 men under Captain 
Mostyn junior, 100 under Captain Merriman, and 600 or 700 light 

The rebels now proposed to parley for peace. The Archbishop of 
Tuam, the Bishop of Kilmore, Lords Clanricard and Athenry, Justice 
Dillon, and Mr. Comerford and some others, were sent to them as 
commissioners, who delivered the lord deputy's terms to the repre- 
sentatives of the Bourkes, who were men of little importance. The 
Bourkes insisted on their own terms, viz. : 1, To have a MacWilliam ; 

2, to have no officer in their six baronies but such as they liked ; 

3, not to be required to attend sessions or the like. These terms 
were rejected as before. 

Sir Richard and the Council of Connaught now sent for the 
Bourke's pledges, who were kept by Mr. John Browne at the Neale — 
namely, Ulick, son of William the blind abbot ; Richard, son of 
John, son of Moyler ; William, son of Moyler Og, whom they hung 
at once. The fathers of these boys knew well the consequences of 
their rebellion, that they deliberately consigned them to death. But 
the Bourkes and the Irish chieftains thought little of such matters — 
probably thought they had done well in giving children instead of 
fighting men. After this Sir Richard insisted on pledges of good 
standing in the family. 

On the 21st July he sent the footmen on to Ballintubber, while 
himself and Lord Clanricard, with the horsemen, took post at the 
castles of the Togher and Newbrook. A proclamation, which had 
been made before the parley, sowed distrust among the rebels, who 
broke up into separate parties, and made no offer to fight, betaking 
themselves and their cattle to the mountains. 

The next day he sent about 700 footmen after them into their 


fastness, the mountains to the west of Lough Mask and Lovigh Carra, 
under the chief command of Captain John Bingham, Sir Richard's 
brother. These forces met no general resistance, but came on some 
of the rebels and killed a few, and took some prisoners, but none of 
the principal rebels. By the 28th they had got nearly to Galway, 
having searched out the country of the rebels and followed some of 
their cattle into Connemara. They brought out 2000 head of cattle, 
taken from the Blind Abbot, the Clandounells, the Clangibbons, Joys, 
and others, besides what they used for food. 

Meanwhile Sir Richard sent some of his men with Sir Morough 
O'Flaherty and Richard Og MacJonyn and his men to attack the 
Joys and intercept those who fled from John Bingham's men. They 
took 1500 or 1600 cows, though Sir Morough acknowledged only 800 
as captured. Moreover, Sir Richard suspected that the 2000 head 
brought to Galway had been originally 3000. Mr. John Browne of 
the Neale, with the rising out of Kilmaine, went into the Joys' 
country by Ballynonagh, and brought out about 150 cows and a 
prisoner, and killed or drowned 11 or 12. 

Some footmen and kerne which joined him after Captain J. Bing- 
ham's departure were sent into Erris, whence they brought out 2000 
cows. Roger, or Ruaidhri, O'Flaherty was employed by sea to keep 
the rebels from the islands. They were so much reduced by these 
vigorous measures that he was able to turn back some additional 
forces which were coming, and was on the 30th July preparing to 
dismiss some more. 

Some 80 to 100 rebels were slain in these proceedings. 
One thousand head of cattle were reserved to meet extraordinary 
charges ; some were used to pay off kerne who were discharged, and 
the rest were divided as booty. 

According to her own story, Grace O'Malley was captured by 
Captain Bingham's force and sent to Sir Richard, who released her 
upon the guarantee of Richard Bourke, probably the Devil's Hook's 
son, who was her son-in-law. 

The Devil's Hook's son played a conspicuous part in these rebellions. 
His father, Richard an Demhan an Chorrain, never came before or 
submitted to any governor. 

William Bourke, the Blind Abbot, appears here for the first time. 
He was now the next senior of all the Bourkes after Edmund of 
Castlebar, and was the head of the Sliocht Ulick of Carra. He is 
said to have been a man of no force of character, who was guided by 
his sons. He was now sixty years of age, and for the next few 
years was the most important of the Bourkes as the heir to the 
MacWilliamship which they hoped to restore. 

Sir Richard moved to Donamona Castle soon after the 30th July, 



uiid stayed there to rest his men and let the rebels come in and 
submit, as he heard they were ready to do so. 

After his arrival there, having evidence that Edmund of Castlebar 
had taken part in raising the rebellion and in hiring Scots, Sir 
Richard held a sessions and had Edmund tried for treason under 
the common law. He was convicted and hanged, in spite of his 
great age (more than eighty years), as a warning against rebellion 
and trying to set up the MacWilliamship. It has been repeatedly 
asserted, to show Sir R. Bingham's cruelty, that he was so decrepit 
that he was carried to the gallows. This is an error which was 
started in the Annals of the Four Masters. He had lost a leg, but 
was not decrepit. He had lately returned from a visit to the Lord 
Deputy. As the conviction was under the common law, his estate 
was forfeited. His sons' hopes were ended. 

Justin MacDonnell, the head of his clan, came in first. After him 
came Edmund MacRichard an larainn, and after him came William 
Bourke, the Blind Abbot, who submitted himself in the humblest 
terms. They were required to give sons as pledges. William tried 
to put in his youngest son, whom Sir Richard refused, and after two 
days gave his eldest son. Richard Boui-ke also gave satisfactory 

By the 16th August all had submitted and given pledges except 
Edmund's sons, who required restoration of their father's lands. 
This was in the discretion of the Lord Deputy, to whom Sir Richard 
referred them. Then they desired to give as pledge the eldest 
brother's son, when Sir Richard had reqvaired one of themselves. 

The kerne had been discharged, and the soldiers were to be dis- 
missed. The whole affair was to be wound up on the 26th August, 
which Edmund's sons had appointed to give their pledge. But then 
came news that the Scots hired in Ulster were on the Erne coming 
to help them. So they drew back. Sir Richard started for Sligo the 
next day, leaving a small force to prosecute them. They did in a 
week give their pledge to Mr. Browne. 

On receipt of this report on the 26th, Sir Richard sent Lord 
Clanricard to Sligo with most of his forces to support his ' brother 
George, sheriff of that county. Next day he started himself with 
100 foot and 25 horsemen, making a detour nearly to Roscommon 
in consequence of a report that the Scots would be in the plain of 
Roscommon that evening. On the 28th he reached Sligo, leaving at 
Boyle Sir Thomas Le Strange and the Roscommon forces whom 
he found there awaiting the enemy. 

He wrote to the leaders of the Scots asking why they were coming 
thus into Connaught, and received the following reply in Irish : — 

" This is the answer of James his sons to the Governor of Con- 


naught, that they are come over the Erne with a great number 
of men, being drawn in by the Clanwilliams .and the Clandonnells, 
who are their cousins, and that Shane Entlevie, son to M'William, 
and Edmond Kykraghe, son to Davie Bane, are with them, to draw 
them to M'William's country, and they shall give them entertain- 
ment and the spoil of Connaught. And James his sons have no 
other shift, but to take an enterprise upon themselves for such as 
will give them most, as all other soldiers in the world do use. And 
whosoever in Connaught shall forbid or let them thereof, they will 
not take it at their hands, except they be stronger than they, or of 
greater power. This is sufficient. 


Donnell and Alexander were sons of James MacDonnell of the 
Isles and Antrim. With them was Gillaspick Campbell of the house 
of Argyll. They were said to have come lately out of Scotland. 
According to Sir R. Bingham's computation, made after the battle 
at Ardnarea, they were in all about 1400 fighting men, with an equal 
number of women and children and attendants, whose presence 
shows an intention to settle in the country. They were joined by 
about eighty Irish horsemen of Ulster, and by a few Irishmen on 

Having heard of the pacification of Mayo, they halted for some 
days on the Erne, and then moved slowly through O'Rourk's country 
to Dromahaire and the borders of Sligo, keeping in the mountains 
and woods. 

Sir Richard's free field force was now 400 well-equipped footmen 
and 60 horsemen, and risings ovit in number about 100 horsemen 
and 200 kerne, insufficient for an attack unless he could find the 
enemy in open country. Thus he waited for them at Sligo and the 
foot of the mountains, keeping close watch on their movements. 

On the 15th September they left their camp to turn back or to 
come on towards Mayo. Sir Richard waited for them at Collooney 
and Knockmullen, and other places where they must pass, until ten 
o'clock at night, when he sent his men away to shelter on information 
given by O' Conor Sligo that the Scots had encamped for the night. 
It was a very wet stormy night. As soon as the English forces were 
withdrawn, the Scots came on and passed 300 or 400 men over the 
bridge of Collooney before the English footmen came up and took 
the bridge from them. The Irish horsemen left there did not act. 
Sir Richard himself ariived from Knockmullen as the bridge was 
won. Though defeated there, the Scots went to a ford near the bridge 
which was not guarded, as the existence of any such ford had been 
1 S.P.I.E., OXXVI. No. 17. 


denied. With liis own horsemen and Lord Chmricard, 8ir Thomas 
Le Strange and Mr. Barkley, and a few of their horsemen, Sir Richard 
attacked them, but failed to stop them. They got past him and 
into the mountains, with a loss of only 40 to 50 men. A few of Sir 
Richard's men and horses were killed and wounded by arrows. Thus 
the Scots gained their end of crossing into the mountains by judicious 
use of knowledge of country and choice of times. Their future move- 
ments were, on 16th September to O'Hara Reagh's town (probably 
Annagh), on 18th to a place three miles from ]3alhegh (probably 
Bellahy), on 19th into Coolcarney, on 20th to Ardnarea. 

Sir Richard now dismissed the risings out as useless for the purpose 
in hand. They had failed him in the night fighting, as might be 
expected. Such undrilled men could not be used tactically in com- 
bination with the drilled companies. They left him 400 foot and 
50 horse. 

To protect the barony of Tireragh, he went as far as Ardnaglass, 
whence he made a long march to Moygara Castle on the 18th 
September, upon information that the Scots were in the mountains in 
O'Gara's country. On the 19th he moved to Castlemore, on a report 
that the Scots were making for Roscommon. About two hundred foot 
and forty horse sent by the Lord Deputy joined him at these places. 
On a report that the Scots were in Coolcarney in some place near the 
Moy, he left at noon for Banada Abbey, which he reached two hours 
after dark on Wednesday, 22nd September. He was guided through 
the high woods of the Letter by Edmond MacCostello, who bad 
aspired to be ^lacCostello, and was in the confidence of the people. 
Here he soon brought to Sir Richard a priest who had been kept a 
prisoner by the Scots and had escaped that day, who reported that 
they were encamped at Ardnarea and were persuading the Bourkes 
to join them, and who procured two O'Haras as guides. 

About 3 A.M., when the moon gave light, the whole force set out and 
reached the castle at Aclare at daylight. The direct way was now 
abandoned, and soldiers and baggage in one body were led by side 
paths in the mountains, keeping as silent as possible to avoid observa- 
tion. About two miles from Ardnarea a halt was made and the 
orders for attack were given. 

Sir Richard went on ahead with the horsemen, leaving the infantry 
to follow as fast as they could. About ten o'clock on Thursday, 23rd 
September, he came in sight of the camp. Half-a-dozen horsemen 
who had been sent in advance as scouts were discovered by the Scots, 
who came out and formed themselves in order of battle, thinking 
they had to deal only with the force they saw. They advanced upon 
the cavalry, who, after a charge which (h-ove the van back on the 
main body, retired before them until the infantry came. Sir Richard 


then formed his line and made a general charge upon the Scots, who 
broke and iled to the river. The affair lasted about an hour. There 
must have been considerable fighting on land, though the numbers 
found dead on land are not given. About eighty of the Scots stripped 
themselves and swam across tlie Moy. Not another fighting man 
escaped. The chief losses seem to have been by drowning. The 
English fired into the struggling masses, who lost their footing and 
were swept away by the current. Bodies were found in heaps on 
the rocks and banks. The losses were computed to be 1400 fighting 
men, including all the leaders and Edmond Ciocarach Bourke and his 
brother Oliverus, and Caheer and Ever MacLiesigh MacDonnell, two 
chiefs of their clan. An equal number of attendants and women and 
children perished. 

The field of battle has not been identified. There was no escape 
from it but to the river. The camp was somewhere close to the 
castle, but the accounts show that the Scots had drawn up outside the 
camp and had followed the English cavalry a short way. 

Those who swam away were reported killed by Walter Kittagh 
Bourke and others. 

Twenty horsemen were out foraging at the time of the battle, and 
made their way to Ulster. These seem to have been the only 
survivors of the invasion of Connaught. Eighty or a hundred had 
been led away the day before to plunder in Tirawley. They were 
killed, some by those they went to rob, and the rest by the forces of 
George Bingham and the gentlemen of Sligo. 

Sir Richard brought 500 foot and 90 horse into action, all in the 
queen's pay. 

The costs of the rebellion were paid out of cattle taken from rebels 
and fines imposed on the principal offenders. 

The reason of the advance of the Scots to Mayo after they heard of 
the pacification must be sought in their circumstances, which suggest 
that it was their least dangerous course. They had landed in Inish- 
owen and plundered that country, and had passed through Tirconnell 
into Fermanagh. They had to live on the hospitality of the chiefs 
and gentlemen or by robbery. A body of nearly three thousand 
persons was an unwelcome burden on any country. The chiefs might 
willingly support them on their march to drive the common enemy 
out of Connaught or to pass them on to another territory, but none 
wanted them as settlers. When they halted on, the Erne in dovibt 
they lived by robbery in Dartry and Carbury. If they now turned 
back they would have all Ulster against them. The road to Ma3'o 
was safest, and they had the reasonable hope that the appearance of 
so large a foi"ce would gain them adherents and that some of the 
chieftains would sive them settlements. , 


The lettei' of the two MacDonnells shows that they rated their 
power highly, but the words of the Four Masters seem to describe 
their force fairly : " Their name and fame were greater than their 

The convoy of families made their marches slow, and compelled 
them to keep among mountains and woods in order to avoid a battle 
wliile so hampered. This necessary did not raise the country 
in their favour, but discouraged any inclination to join them, showing 
that they feared to meet Sir llichard. When they reached Ardnarea 
the Bourkes had eaten the fruits of rebellion and had no appetite for 
more. Until they met Sir llichard in battle and defeated him, or forced 
liim to retire and leave the country to them, they could gain no support. 

Sir Richard understood their military value and the conditions of 
his work. "When they left the mountains and woods, as they must do 
at last, his opportunity of striking an effective blow would come, as it 
did. But he could not have hoped that they would let him find them 
in a position fi'om which they had no escape. 

Having suppressed rebellion and defended his province from the 
Scots, Sir Richard had now to defend himself. Sir John Perrot 
was with difficulty restrained by his Council from going to Mayo to 
supersede Sir Richard in dealing with the Bourkes and Scots. It 
was objected that his heavy train could not hunt down rebels and 
would be fed with difficulty, and that Sir Richard was able to deal 
with the affair. At last they agreed that he might go as far as 
Athlone. At Mullingar he had news of the defeat of the Scots. He 
went on to Galway to receive complaints and evidence of Sir Richard's 
misconduct. He received none, and went back, justifying the Council's 
objection by his oessing the country heavily for his support, in breach 
of the composition. 

The principal original rebels and gentlemen of Mayo came to 
Roscommon and subscribed and took oath before the Clerk of the 
Council of Connaught to two statements, one by those who had been 
rebels on the 16th November, and one by those who had not rebelled 
on the 17th November. ^ 

The first, entitled "A True Discourse of the Causes of the Late 
Rebellion of the Burkes," is an important document, because it sets 
out the origin and history of the rebellion under the hands of those 
who knew the facts, and appears to be in all respects accurate and 
trustworthy, agreeing with such independent evidence as exists, and 
because the deponents declare their readiness to testify whenever 
called to do so. It is a solemn statement of what witnesses are ready 
to depose to in disproof of the charges made against Sir Richai^d. I 
have made much use of it in the foregoing pages. From it we can 
1 S.P.I.E., CXXVI. 83, 81. 


infer the first charges made by F. Barkley and Th. Dillon to have 
been general charges of harshness and oppression and breaches of the 
composition, and specific charges of the killing of Thomas Roe and 
the execution of Richaid Roe and Moyler and Tibbot Reagh Bourke 
by martial law. 

They assert that the gentlemen of the country generally disliked 
the restraint of their aibitrary dealings with their tenants which 
resulted from the Queen's Government in Connaught, and that they 
were much displeased by the abolition of the old names and seignories 
under the composition. When Edmund Bourke sued for and was 
not granted the succession to the MacWilliamship, his sons and others 
entered into action to secure the succession for him. They protest 
these to have been the sole causes of the rebellion, and that the object 
was the restoration of the names of MacWilliam and MacDonnell 
and of their ancient customs. The second rising was due solely to 
the abolition of the MacWillinmship and the unjust division of the 
seignory. Sir Richard never oppressed or wronged any of them, but 
was ever ready to do them right and justice, never broke the com- 
position in any way. They acknowledge that Thomas and Richard 
and Moyler and Tibbot Reagh were justly killed and executed, and 
that their hostages were justly hanged at Ballinrobe for their parents' 
defaults, and that the governor spared many other pledges whom he 
might have put to death justly. 

F. Barkley and Theobald Dillon came about the time of their 
occupying Castlehag and warned Richard and Moyler Oge and 
Edmund's sons not to come to any officer, but to be upon their 

Edmund MacRichard an larainn deposed that Garrett M'Teig 
Dillon came to him after midsummer with a message from Th. Dillon 
not to trust or come to any officer until Th. Dillon should come to the 
country, and that he, Edmund, was to be arrested, whereupon he 
joined the rebels. The deponents were : William Burke the Blind 
Abbot, Moyler Oge Burke, Edmund Burke M'Richard Yn Yeren, 
Moyler Burke M'Thomas Roe, Shane Burke, Ustion M'Donnell, 
Riccard Oge M'Gibbon, Richard Yn Yeren, Riccard a choga M'Gibbon, 
Tibbot M'Gibbon, Moyler Oge M'Tibbot, Moelemora M'Ranell 
M'Donnell, Shane M'Gibbon, Edmund M'Moyler M'Gibbon. Edmund 
Burke M'Thomas Duff, Richard Oge M'Ranell M'Donnell, Walter 
Oge M'Walter M'Fyreghe. 

The name of Richard, son of the Devil's Hook, is not among them, 
unless it is represented by Richard Yn Yeren, which is not improbable. 
These men all made marks, and the clerk who wrote may have mis- 
taken. The document is drawn as if he was to sign it. 

The second paper is much shorter. It is only to certify that the 


abolition of the MacWilliamship and of the other lordships and the 
restraining from customary exactions were the cause of the rebellion. 
The deponents are fully representative of the baronies of Kilmaine, 
Carra, Murrisk, Burrishoole, and Clanmorris, and must have known 
accurately the facts. 

Some of them signed. Those who made only a mark are <lis- 
tinguislied by * before the name. 

E. B. Edmund Burke's mark of Cong. * Shane M'Hubert, parson 
of Dun[am]ony's mark. * Laghlar O'Maillie, chief of his name. 

* William Burke of Shrwher. Edmund Burke of Cowlnegashell. 
*Moyler Burke M'Thomas Roe. Robertus O'Maylle. * Edmund 
M'Gilduff M'Jonyn. * Rycard M'Morris, chief of his name. * Ferigh 
M'Connell. Alexander 6g M'Donnell. * Walter M'Jonyn of the 
Towrin. David M'Morris. * Phelam M'Marcus M'Conell. * Dermot 
O'Malley. * Hubert M'Jonyn. * Shane M'Morris. * M'Moelmory 
M'Conell of Toaght. * Farigh M'Torlagh. Reaid Battwrin. * Davy 
M'Hubbert M'Jonyn. * Moyler M'Morris. * Walter Og M'Walter 
M'Riccard. * Gillduff M'Gibbon. * Shane Jonyn of Kilchwoyre. 
Hary FisMorys. * Moelmory M'Ranell. * Moyler Og M'Gibou. 

* Jonyn M'Ullick. * Moyler Burke of Manychroyr. Johannis 
Marcus. * William Og. * Thomas M'Tybbott Reaghe. Robertus 
O'Caleesus. * Walter M'Roe. * Laghlen O'Malley. * Enys 
M'Donnell of Aghelhard. * Marcus M'Hugh Boy. * William Crom 
M'Phillipin. Marcus Edmundi finci * Edmund M'Tybott. 

* Edmund Og M'Richard a chegga. * Richard ne Koillie. 

M'Connell is a form of MacDonnell. Reaid Battwrin is not in- 
telligible, but may have been intended to represent Ricard Bhailldrin. 
Bhailldrin is found as a name of a MacCostello. It is probably a 
diminutive of Walter, O'Caleesus is perhaps O'Gilla Isus. Richard 
ne Koillie was a M'Eryddery, FitzSimon. 

Some of them probably did give evidence before the Council, though 
we have no record of any further proceedings until the final order of 
acquittal on the 20th February 1587, in which the Council finds that 
Theobald Dillon has failed to prove his charges, which were maliciously 
brought and were not based on any probable just cause or matter, 
and further finds Sir Richard's "credit rather increased by defending 
so sufficiently and truly (as they fell out) the malicious informations 
of the said Theobald."! 

It was probably a consequence of these false charges that T. Dillon 
and F. Barkley lost their places as Collector of Composition Rents and 
Provost- M arshal . 

Connaught was quiet after the defeat of the Scots, and Mayo was 
in complete peace until the coming of the Spanish Armada. 
1 S.P.I.E., CXXIX. 53. 


Bingham and Perrot were pressing the queen to approve the 
counterparts of the Indentures of Composition, in order that they 
might issue them to the lords and chieftains who had entered into 
simihir indentures with their tenants. 

In May the queen ordered Bingham to come for service in Flanders, 
but he did not leave Ireland until July. In an account of his service 
he wi'ites that Malbie's old composition was very unsatisfactory and 
unfair, and, owing to its inequality, collected with difficulty and not in 
full. In spite of it the country was cessed. As soon as he had arranged 
the new composition he drew in all the garrisons and stopped all 
cessing, and collected rents for the last three years in full, and made 
no charge for Connaught on the general revenues. Sir J. Perrot 
wrote to the same effect. ^ 

When Sir Richard left the composition rents were being paid in 
money. Wallop wiites to Burghley that Bingham kept Connaught 
in such peace and order that in these bad years it yielded corn for 
the other provinces and plenty of cattle. This period of peace and 
plenty lasted until the coming of the Spanish Armada. 

Sir Richard was succeeded by Sir Thomas Le Strange, and on the 
12th September by his brother, George Bingham, as Deputy Governor. 
In September a large number of the principal lords and bishops and 
chieftains and gentlemen of Connaught petitioned the Privy Council, 
declaring Sir Richard's good government, and praying that he be sent 
back as Governor. 

On the 13th May 1587 the Lord Deputy issvied a commission to 
Sir R. Bingham and others for the composition with the barony of 
Ballyhaunis. Owing to Sir Richard's departure the inquisition was 
made under Sir Thomas Le Strange on the 3rd September. The 
Commissioners reported that the barony contained 252 small quarters 
of land called Carowmyres, or a fouith part of a quarter, and that 
the soil was so unfertile and the arable land so scanty that they put 
four small quarters to one quarter of 120 acres, and so made out 63 
quarters fit for composition rent. They recommended a favourable 
rent on account of the poverty of the country, and therefore referred 
the case to the Lord Deputy, who fixed the rent at 10s. on 83 quarters 
on the 1st December. 

In February 1588, having returned from Flanders to England, 
Sir Richard wrote to Burghley protesting against this reduction of 
Theobald Dillon's rent by nearly =£100 as groundless. He had a survey 
which made the barony to contain 272 quarters. He pointed out 
that such a reduction would make the whole composition uncertain 
and would give rise to discontent in others. 

It is probable that this reduction was an act of partiality or corrup- 
1 .S'.P./.^"., 9th, 10th July 1587. 


tion. Theobald Dillon had by this time got into his hands a great 
part of the whole barony, which certainly contained more than 63 
quarters. The Lord Deputy's figure of 83 quarters seems to be an 
arbitrary figure. No such extraordinary allowances had been made 
elsewhere. Tlie quarter of 120 acres was at this time an uncertain 
quantity, a measure of value, not of actual acreage. Estates or deno- 
minations of land were estimated as containing so many quarters, 
meaning that their arable and pasture were equal in value to so many 
quarters of 120 acres of standard land. 

The landholders made surrenders of their lands and took them 
back by grant from the Crown to be held under English law. After 
the composition they made contracts with their tenants. Thus civil 
justice had to be administered throughout the grefiter part of the 
province. Some parts of Connaught up to this time were wholly 
beyond the influence of the courts, such as the county of Leitrim and 
lar Connaught. In Mayo such wild and difiicult regions as Erris and 
the Isles Avere left alone. 

There is evidence of the working of civil justice in Mayo at this 
time, though it is not clear how far the law was applied. It was 
applied to dealings of merchants and of English settlers with the 
old inhabitants of the country. But the inhabitants, except so far 
as they had formally brought themselves under English law, seem to 
have settled disputes among themselves in their old ways, provided 
they did not by fighting and killing bring themselves within the 
reach of the criminal law. I do not find records showing how far 
the existing customs were recognised and enforced in the Queen's 
Courts at this time, if they were recognised and enforced at all as 
an existing law. 

Suits were tried before the justice and a jury in open sessions, 
occasionally within the counties when they were peaceful, and at 
Galway for the province in general. 

In Sir N. Malbie's time Englishmen began to come from other 
parts to settle in Mayo. The first of these was Mr. John Browne of 
the Neale, who played a considerable part in Mayo. Because he calls 
himself the first Englishman who settled himself to dwell in the 
county, he has been taken to have been an immigrant from England. 
At this time " Englishman " meant a man of an English family 
which had not abandoned English laws and customs, and did not 
necessarily mean a man who was born of a family settled in 
Englanil. In a list of sheriffs he is described as John Browne of 
Kilpatrick, from which it may be inferred that he was one of the 
family which was long settled at Kilpatrick in Westmeath, or came 
from some other Kilpatrick. He was brought up in the household of 
Sir Christopher Hatton ; many young men of good family were sent 


to England to be brought up in the houses of men of position. While 
in Mayo he corresponded with Sir Christopher and with Sir Francis 
Walsingham. Whatever may have been his origin, he was without 
doubt a man of unusual capacity and force of character. 

He was of such position in the county as to get 12 quarters of 
land free of the composition in 1585. He acquired about 30 quarters 
of land in course of time in the baronies of Kilmaine, Carra, Gallen, 
Clanmorris, and Erris. He must have acquired by purchase, as it is 
certain that he did not get Crown grants. There was at this -time a 
good deal of selling and mortgaging of lands. 

His nephews William and John came to the Neale, and the former 
acquired some lands. 

The year of his coming is unknown, but it must have been before 
June 1580, when Sir N. Malbie notes the settlement of Theobald 
Dillon at Castlemore. 

Thomas Nolan settled in the Castle of the Crigh, in which he 
appears to have acquired a share from the MacTibbot family. His 
name seems to be Irish, but he was a settlex*. 

William Bowen was an Englishman from Leinster, and Christopher 
Garvey of Lehinch was an Irishman of the Pale, a son of the Bishop 
of Kilmore. They acquired two castles from the Bovirkes. Walter 
ne Mully complained in 1589 that he had been wrongfully dis- 
possessed of two castles. Sir R. Bingham explained that these men 
were in possession after trial in due course of law. 

In the conditions under which Walter Bourke was brought up, 
Bowen and Garvey, men of no local position, could not have brought 
the queen's power to bear to secure their rights. They would have 
been obliged to arrange their claim with him. 

Merchants of Galway were now acquiring interests in land by sale 
and mortgage. 

Such settlement shows that there was a fair degree of security in 
the county, at least after 1576, which enabled strangers to settle 
in the county and invest their money with reasonable safety for 
their property and persons. Before 1570 this would have been 

The new position of MacWilliam is shown by the incident noted 
by John Browne, that while he was sheriff he took both MacWilliam 
and his Tanist, Edmund Bourke of Castlebar, prisoners on account of 
the disorderly conduct of themselves and their sons, and held them 
until they delivered to him their sons as pledges to the queen. 


PEACE OF 1589. 

Sir R. Bingham resumed the government of Connaught in the spring 
of 1588, and arrived at Athlone in the beginning of May. He 
collected the composition rents then due without delay, foreseeing 
trouble if the Spaniards came to the coasts of Ireland. 

The Government issued a proclamation ordering all men to bring in 
such Spaniards as fell into their hands and to give immediate notice 
of their arrival to the queen's officers, and warning them of the 
penalties for disobedience. Indeed, no proclamation was needed to tell 
men that keeping or helping these Spaniards was in itself an act of 
rebellion and warfare, as the Armada came to invade her dominions 
and to drive her from the throne. 

The ships arrived on the coast during September. The proclama- 
tion was obeyed generally in Connaught ; but whether it was obeyed 
or not, the country people did not offer a kindly hospitality to ship- 
wrecked mariners. Some got ashore with their arms in sufficient 
numbers to protect themselves, and escaped in other ships. The rest 
were taken prisoners and given up, or killed if they did not surrender 
themselves, or else were robbed and killed or left naked. 

A few were kept for use as fighting slaves. A savage Irish chief- 
tain thought some of the famous Spanish soldiers a great addition to 
his power. They must fight for their lives, as capture was certain 
death. When Sir Murrough O'Flaherty made a raid into Galway and 
Mayo in the next March, he was said to set great store on about 
twenty Spaniards. 

Sir R. Bingham reported in December that the Spaniards were 
known to have lost on the coast of Connaught twelve ships, that two 
or three more were supposed to have sunk at sea beyond the Out 
Isles, that 1100 men were put to the sword, only Don Lewis de 
Cordova and his nephew being reserved for the queen's orders, and 
that 4600 were supposed to have been drowned. This wholesale 
slaughter was repugnant to his feelings, but when he ventured to 
reserve fifty for the Lord Deputy's disposal he was ordered to 
execute all. 

Sir G. Fenton's final estimate shows the losses in Mayo : " Ships 



and men, sunk, drowned, killed, and taken upon this coast of Ireland 
in the month of September 1588, as followeth : ... in Tix-awley, one 
ship, 400 men ; in Clare Island, one ship, 300 men ; in Fynglasse, 
O'Malley's country, one ship, 400 men ; in Erris, two ships, none lost, 
because the men wei-e taken into other vessels, but the vessels and 
ordnance remained." 

Fr-om contemporary letters the following details are taken regarding 
these ships. 

The earliest report is that a ship of 1000 tons, having fifty brass 
pieces and four great cannons, was cast away at Borris ; sixteen who 
escaped were secured by the Earl of Ormond's tenants. This seems 
to be the ship noted by Sir G. Fenton as wrecked at Fynglasse, The 
description given in the letter may be erroneous, as the letter was 
not written by one who had direct information, and the mention 
of Borris and Lord Ormond's tenants is most likely a rendering of the 
fact that O'Malleys captured the men. Some of the O'Malleys were 
Lord Ormond's tenants. If so, the cannon which now lies at Westport 
House may have been hers, as it is said to have been recovered from 
the sands on the coast to the south of Carrownisky river. 

A large ship was wrecked in Ballycroy. About 600 men under 
Don Alonso de Leyva fortified themselves in the castle, but afterwards 
joined others at Tii-aun. 

A large ship was wrecked at Tiraun. The crew and the Ballycroy 
party were taken off by other ships. 

A ship was wrecked in Tirawley. William Bourke of Ardnarea 
took seventy-two prisoners, and Melaghlin Mac an Ab was reported 
to have killed eighty Spaniards with his Gallowglass axe. 

A ship commanded by Don Pedro de Mendosa was wrecked on 
Clare Island. Don Pedro refused to surrender. Doodara O'Malley 
slew him and 100 men. 

The wrecked ships were utterly broken up and their guns lost. 
The country people took the treasure and valuables that could 
be got. 

Giovanni Avancini and fourteen Italians, being ill-used by the 
Spaniards, deserted from them, apparently from those who were in 

On receipt of report that Don Alonso de Leyva and his men were 
fortifying themselves in the castle of Ballycroy, probably Doona, Sir 
R. Bingham went forward with the small force he had at hand. At 
Castlemacgarrett he met the report that they and the Spaniards at 
Tiraun had embarked again, but he went on to Donamona Castle, as 
it was reported that 500 others had landed at Broadhaven. Here 
Justin MacDonnell, one of the leading men of the Clan Donnell, was 
arrested, tried by martial law, and hanged for treason in having 


conspired with Richard Bourke, the Devil's Hook's son, to bi-ing Don 
Alonso and his men inland, having sent guides, having forbidden the 
country people to supply food for the queen's forces, and in having 
incited people to collect in order to force Sir Richard to retire, he 
having but a small force with him. 

This execution was afterwards made a charge against Sir Richard, 
but the ( Jovernment was satisfied that the proceedings were regular 
and the conviction justified. 

At this time William Bourke, the Blind Abbot, was arrested and 
kept in prison for about fourteen weeks, and then released on the 
pledge of his son for his good behaviour. 

At the end of September all were quiet but the Devil's Hook, Sir 
Murrough O'Flaherty, and O'Rourk, who refused to give up their 
Spaniards. The person meant by the term " the Devil's Hook " at 
this time Avas Richard Bovu-ke, the Devil's Hook's son. The Devil's 
Hook himself was dead, 1 believe, though I have not been able to 
ascertain the date of his death. The English in Connaught seem to 
have used the terms indifferently. 

No open acts of rebellion had been committed in Mayo except the 
combination of Richard Bourke and Justin MacDonnell to bring the 
Spaniards in from Erris. But the septs of the Owles where R. Bourke 
was chief showed disaffection. Mr. Gerald Comerford, who had been 
sent there on special duty and had been ordered to join Captain 
George Bingham, wrote on the 19th September to Sir R. Bingham, who 
was then in Mayo, that he could not leave Carrick Kenedy with his 
small force, as the Clanrannells, a sept of the MacDonnells living near 
Newport, and other septs were out and were lying in wait in his 
road, and asked for a company, which Sir Richard sent, to bring 
him away. 

When the Lord Deputy FitzWilliam came to Athlone to attack 
O'Rourk and the Ulstermen, who had a large number of Spaniards, 
he called up the rising out of Connaught. Only those of Kilmaine, 
Clanmorris, and Costello came from Mayo. Upon the representation 
of Sir R. Bingham and Mr. John Browne, the sheriff, of the danger 
of withdrawing these loyal men in face of the evident combination of 
the Bourkes and Joys and Clandonnells, they were sent away, and 
Browne was left to protect the loyalists until Sir Richard's return 
from Ulster, where he was to go with the Lord Deputy. 

During the next two months things went worse. Richard Bourke 
and Sir M. O'Flaherty were open rebels by their retaining Spaniards. 
It was certain that they would be dealt with as soon as Sir R. 
Bingham returned, and it was their interest to raise disturbances and 
gain support. These proceedings are described by Mr. Thos. Nolan 
of the Creevagh, who had been settled in Mayo for some years and 


should have been well informed, in a letter dated 19th March 1589.^ 
After mentioning releases and exchanges of hostages made by John 
Browne : — 

"Walter ne Mully had continual access in the night time for ten 
days together to Sir Murrough ne Doe, and then all the plot of this 
rebellion was laid down, and they combined together. About that 
time Walter Burke in the night time killed one William Keaghe, 
servant unto Mr. Browne, yet Mr. Browne procured for Walter a pro- 
tection for the committing of that fact. About a fortnight after 
Walter's brother, Shane Bv;rke, murdered two honest men of the 
English pale near Ballinrobe. Then Sir Murrough ne Doe held con- 
ference with all the O'Flaherties, and joined them all to him except 
one Roger O'Flaherty. After that he had a conference with the Devil's 
Hook, the Joys, and the sept of Ulick Burke, and Walter ne Molley 
at Tnishmeane, MacTibbott's house, and in the Partree, and there all 
the combination was agreed upon, and since Walter Burke and the 
rest were upon their keeping, Walter did transport the most part of 
his corn into the Joys' country a month before Christmas. The 
Devil's Hook, the Blind Abbot's sons, and the rest gathered 80 
or 100 men together, and took meat and drink where they listed. 
They came one night to Darby Moran's, a soldier's house at Ballin- 
tubber, commanding his wife to make them good cheer, and said that if 
she had welcomed and cheered them willingly and the best she could, 
she would have no thanks for her cost and goodwill. They came about 
that time to Nic. Lawleis, an honest civil man's house near Mayo, in 
an evening drank and spoiled six barrels of drink, wasted other 
victuals, and put the poor man in danger of his life. The next day 
they came to Allen M'Donnell's house near Lehinch in that number, 
and cessed themselves in the villages thereabouts. Immediately after, 
they came up as far as the river of Clongowla or Ballinrobe, cessed 
themselves upon the Rochfords, Malods, and Clannevallies,- and going 
thus in troops to the terror of the subjects. Mr. Browne did write 
unto your worship of their insolencies. This rebellion is no sudden 
act, but a matter long agreed on." 

This shows what the people had to endure when the law had not a 
strong arm present to protect them, a sample of what happened in other 
places. By such actions, and by keeping Spg,niards, Richard Bourke 
and his associates had broken the protections given to them in re- 
spect of past offences. When the Lord Deputy passed through 
Connaught, he was informed that they were in action of rebellion 
and must be prosecuted. But nothing could be done then, as all 
forces in hand were needed for the march into Ulster. 

1 S.P.I.E., CXLHI. 12, ii. 

2 Clann An Fhailghaigh 1 — i.e. MacAnally?. 


After Sir llicliard's return a conauission to prosecute them was given 
to Captain Mordant. When he reached Dunmore his company 
refused to go on, because they had not been paid or satisfied for their 
services with the Lord Deputy's army. This occurred in the middle 
of December. 

Sir Richard now arranged to deal with them by means of local levies. 
Upon reports of further disorders early in January 1589, instructions 
were given to the sheriff, Mr. John Browne, and to others to prepare 
to levy soldiers and to prosecute these Bourkes, and a formal com- 
mission to do so was made out for him on the 13th January. 

Those in actual rebellion up to this time were Richard and Ricard, 
sons of the Blind Abbot ; Theobald, Walter, and John, sons of 
Richard an larainn ; the sons of Walter Fada ; the sept of Ulick 
Bourke of Erris, and the Devil's Hook's son ; the Carra Bourkes 
generally, and those of Cloonagashell ; the Joys, and some Clandonnells, 
Clangibbons, and O'Flaherties. 

When the issue of this commission was made a ground of complaint 
against Sir Richard he justified it in all points at the trial. He 
admitted that such a commission was usually signed also by one of 
his assistants. But immediate action was necessary in this case, 
and no English Councillor was resident in Connaught at the time 
except Justice Dillon, who lay sick in his house. No Irish Coun- 
cillors were at hand, and he pointed out that the queen had warned 
the Lord Deputy not to impart such secret purposes to Irish Coun- 
cillors. A similar commission had been issued to Captain Mordant. 
His commission for martial affairs empowered him to act alone in 
such matters. 

This defence was accepted by the Government. The want of signa- 
ture of another Councillor seems to have been the only exception that 
could be taken to it, and that was a matter of custom, not of law. 
These men had been open rebels for months, and an earlier attempt 
to prosecute them had failed. 

Mr. Browne reached Rockfleet Castle, with from 200 to .300 men, 
on the 7th February, if his death has been correctly assigned to the 
8th. Richard Bourke had met him and objected to Browne entering 
his country. 

Browne sent most of his force on towards Erris next morning under 
John Gilson, William Browne, and Christopher Garvey, following them 
with about twenty-five men. When about ten miles from the main body, 
he was attacked by the forces under Richard Bourke and Walter ne 
MuUy, who killed him and all his men, among them Donnell O'Daly, 
his sub-sheriff, and Redmond Burke of Benmore in Galway. 

As the main body came back safely, this was but a petty success for 
the Bourkes, .if only the numbers killed be considered ; but it was a 


very important event in other respects, and marked a stage in the 
course of the rebellion. 

Hitherto the rebels might be described as unaggressive. They armed 
themselves against the queen, and set the law at defiance by going 
about in bands living on the country, and robbing loyal or peaceable 
men who were not strong enough to resist ; but they kept within 
their tribal boundaries and did not attack the queen's oiBcers, who 
were able to live in their own castles, but were not strong enough 
to disperse these bands. They ignored all law and the queen's 

They were now joined by the Blind Abbot, the Bourkes of Turlough, 
Thomas Bourke of Island Caca, the MacPhilpins, the Stauntons, the 
people of Gallen, many Clandonnells, the rest of the Clangibbons, 
and by Sir M. O' Flaherty. The rebellion was no more formidable 
than that of 1586, and might have been crushed as easily if Con- 
naught had not been denuded of drilled soldiers. It was impossible 
to deal with rebels with only the country forces, and reinforcements 
did not come for six weeks. 

As action by the governor did not follow immediately, this small 
success seemed a great one to the wild tribes, and the rebels increased 
in numbers so that in March they were reported in Galway to be 
2000, but according to Sir R. Bingham, they were never more than 
700 in arms, which is probably the correct number of Mayo rebels 
under arms at any one time. Early in the month they had taken Tiraun 
and assaulted Castlecarra, which Captain AVm. Bowen, now the sheriff, 
had bought in 1586. During this period Nolan and Garvey remained 
in their castles, and Gerald Comerford, the Attorney of Connaught, was 
able to move about with a small escort, as we find him at Nolan's 
castle on the 15th March, and at a castle near Carras on the day of 
the battle of Carras. 

In March the rebels entered on active operations against the queen 
on a larger scale. It was said that the Bourkes promised the following 
terms to Sir M. O'Flaherty as the price of his services — £300 for his 
son Edmond, whom he had given as a pledge, £300 for breaking down 
his castle of Aughnanure, £300 to keep a bodyguard. 

He broke down the castle, and his son was hanged at the end of 
the month. The report shows that such an arrangement was thought 
reasonable and probable. 

Early in March he crossed Lough Corrib with 500 to 600 men, and 
joined the Mayo rebels. In the course of the month they plundered 
the baronies of Clare and Kilmaine and Clanmorris. As William 
Bourke of Shrule, the senior of the Sliocht Walter, is mentioned as 
having been plundered, it seems that he and his sept generally 
were opposed to rebellion, and not merely indifferent. The rebels 




had twenty Spaniards, who, it is said, could not endure the hard- 
ships of Irish life. 

Bowen and Comerford had a conference on the ISth March with 
William Bourke, Sir Murrough, and the rest. William Bourke attri- 
buted the rising to the hard and extreme dealings of Mr. J. Browne 
of the Neale, and other inferior officers. They said that if William 
Bourke was created and made Mac William as others before him, and 
the benefit of the composition allowed them, they would make peace. 
Comerford said that the name was extinguished, and never to be 
revived. They refused to agree to any kind of peace or truce unless 
William Bourke was made MacWilliam, which the other side could 
not agree to. 

Sir Morough stayed with a few men at Keltyprichane in Kilmaine, 
and sent the rest under his son Teige to plunder the baronies of Clare 
and Dunmore, where they burnt sixteen towns, and gathered 3000 
head of cattle and horses. 

In the meantime soldiers had reached the governor, who sent two 
companies forward under Capt. Weekes and Lieut. Francis Bingham, 
who met on Thui'sday, and w^ere in camp near Milltown on the morn- 
ing of Easter Saturday, March 28. The story of the battle is best 
told in the words of those who won it.^ Edward Bermingham, who 
was living in Milltown Castle, was an English gentlemen from the 
Pale and had been Sheriff of Mayo for a time. He writes at Athlone 
on the 31st March : — 

" So it is that on Saturday last in the morning Teig O'Flaherty, 
eldest son of Sir Morough ne Doe, accompanied by three of his 
brethren and 500 more, came to the borders where I dwell, and there 
did burn and prey 16 towns. Whereof the said Teig accompanied 
with some 100 came to my town, and there did assault my castle 
valiantly. I being well provided did put them from that purpose to 
their great loss, for I did kill two of his gentlemen at the castle door, 
and had four of his men hurt and buried. He burned half the town, 
and all my corn, and carried my prey with him. Two bands of 
soldiers being eastward of me six miles I did send unto desiring that 
they might make with my guide where I should meet them, and the 
passage where the rebels should pass. The captains, by name Ca2)t. 
Weekes and Lieut. Bingham, making no delay issued out, and I 
certifying in their journey where to come and the brave service at 
hand, made their repair to the place appointed by me, which was 
from thence they came 10 miles. I having the enemies in sight till 
I met the soldiers, when I brought them face to face at the gate of 
the Carre in the barony of Kyllmaynham in the County of Mayo, where 
the enemy did prepare them in battle array and come against us. 
1 S.P.I.E., CXLIII. No. 12 ; vi., vii., viii. 


The soldiers not neglecting their time went against them ; there was 
a volley of shot on both sides. They came to the push of the pike 
with great courage, when the said Teig O'Flaherty was slain with 
eight of his company. Then they were disordered, and I with six 
horsemen of mine and eight footmen, being beside our battle as a 
wing ready to charge upon the breach, did charge, when I struck 
their guidon under his morion with my staff and ran him through in 
the face of the battle. I followed another and had him down, and so 
did my horsemen kill 5 more at that charge. We had not six score 
of ground to deal with them when they recovered a main bog. Three 
of "my horsemen and eight footmen did kill of them in the bog 16. 
Her Majesty's Attorney in that province (Mr. Comerford), under- 
standing of their disordering, issued forth when he met of them and 
did slay 16. Divers others in their flight did kill of them, so that I 
account there is slain of them 80 and upwards. The Attorney and 
I brought the head of Teig O'Flaherty to Sir Richard yester night who 
was wonderful glad, for this Teig was the stoutest man in this pro- 
vince and could do most. I have recovered all my losses by this 
means." On the 1st April he writes, that all the Clandonnells save 
two have gone with the rebels, and have of late made 400 gallowglass 
axes. " I was troubled with certain of my friends in my castle upon 
the assault, by name my sister Marie Hussey, my wife, and four 
gentlewomen more of the Pale, who wished themselves in their 

Francis Bingham wrote from Tuam on the 30th : " We overtook 
them at Castle Annacare, where they had gathered the piey of 13 
towns, who seeing us come marching, displayed two guidons at the 
first, and when they saw both our colours displayed they displayed 
six more, and then retired into a piece of ground of advantage, and 
put a hedge of bushes between us and them, and presently joined 
battle with us, and gave a marvellous hard attempt at the first, so 
when their attempt was withstood they broke so that there and in 
the chase we had the killing of lUO and odd." 

That night two prisoners were got and put to the sword, and next 
day being Easter Sunday, four men were found wounded in a house 
and executed, and eleven were got in Tibbot Boy's castle, whereof ten 
were executed. "There was gotten of their furniture 63 pieces, 
besides other furnitures, as morions, swords, sculls and tai-gets, and 
four guidons." They camped that night at Clogher (Cloghans?), and 
thence went to Tuam to get meat. Urun and Teig Og, two other 
sons of Sii' Morough, were among the slain. Comerfoi'd was in a 
castle two miles from the battlefield, and sallied forth on the fugitives 
with six shot, seven footmen, and four horsemen, and killed twenty- 
four, according to his letter dated 29th March at Turin Castle. 


At this juncture, when the O'Flaheitys had suffered disaster, and 
the Bourkes could have been crushed easily, the Lord Deputy inter- 
vened, ordering Sir R. Bingham to refiain from prosecuting the 
rebels, and to withdraw all forces from Mayo, in order not to hinder 
a pacification. He appointed the Bishops of Meath and Kilmore, Sir 
Robert J)illon, Chief Justice, Sir Nicholas White, Master of the 
Rolls, Sir Thomas Le Strange, and Sir R. Bingham as commissioners 
to treat for peace. He handed over the loyal and law abiding part 
of the people, who were the bulk of the people of Mayo, to the will 
of the rebels for six weeks. 

O'Rourk had been encouraged by the previous inaction to send a 
party to plunder in the County Sligo, who were defeated and driven 
away by Sir G. Bingham. Rebellion had not spread further. The 
Lord Deputy's action encouraged others to join, and to plunder quiet 
districts, so that the rest of the county of Mayo were forced as condi- 
tions grew woi'se to join the rebels, at least nominally, for their own 

Of these commissioners the Bishop of Meath and Sir R. Dillon 
were bitter, open enemies of Sir Richard, because he had exposed 
their corruption in the case of O'Conor Sligo a year before. 

Captain Merbury, who had been employed in Connaught, has left 
notes on some of the principal men of Mayo \vho were concerned in 
the rebellions and negotiations of this year.^ 

"Sir Murrough ne Doe is reckoned about seventy-five years, the 
Devil's Hook ['s son], Ulick Burke, and Robert O'Malley nigh to 
sixty. Walter ne MuUy is exceeding poor, but crafty-headed and 
bold. Walter Kittough is wise enough, but too weak to attain to 
the M'Williamship. . . . The Blind Abbot was never wise, steady, 
or honest. He doats for age ; is very beggarly overborne by his 
children. Edmund Burke of Cong, called M'Thomas Yvaughery, is a 
very handsome man ; always out for fear of the law for killing Ulick 
Burke of the Neale, and if Cong be taken from him, which indeed 
did belong to Sir William Collyer, he will be very poor by and by. 
The many factions among themselves are enough to overthi'ow 

Walter ne Mully spoke English, and was on friendly terms with 
Francis Bingham. Gerald Comerford and Edward White knew 

The commissioners reached Athlone on the 11th April. Next day 
the Bishop of Kilmore and Sir N. White and Captain Fowle, the 
Provost-marshal of Connaught, were sent to parley with the Mayo 
rebels. Edward White was with them at the parley. He was a 
relation of Sir Nicholas, and the bishop was father of Christopher 
1 S.P.I.E. CXLVI. No. 21. 


Garvey, who had settled in Mayo. The other commissioners went on 
to Galway, and sent a message to Sir M. O'Flaherty. 

By the 17th the Bishop of Kilmore's party had met the Bourkes, 
and had agreed with the Blind Abbot, Richard Bourke, and the 
others, for seven days' peace for themselves, but not for Walter ne 
Mully, who had gone with 120 swords towards Tireragh and Bally- 
mote to join O'Rourk. Sir Richai'd wished to send 200 men to cut 
him off, but the Bishop of Meath would not consent. 

The two commissioners came to Galway on the 19th, and reported 
the complaints and demands which the Bourkes had made. Sir 
Richard desired to send Fowle against the Clandermots, who had 
risen, but the commissioners desired to retain him. On the 21st Sir 
Richard asked the commissicfners what he was to do about O'Rourk, 
who was plundering around Ballymote. They told him to report to 
the Lord Deputy. 

The negotiations were opened on the 23rd, when Ulick Bourke, 
Walter ne Mully, and Robert O'Malley came into Galway. They 
were told that they must bring in the Blind Abbot, Richard Bourke, 
Sir Morough, and Teig ne Mully O'Flaherty if they wanted peace, 
for whom protections were sent. Sending men of such small import- 
ance to meet the commissioners was treating them with contempt. 

On Friday, 25th April, the commissioners, except Sir Richard, 
met the leading rebels in confei-ence at the New Castle near Galway, 
as they i-efused to enter the town. Sir Richard did not join in the 
conference, as the rebels made charges against him personally. The 
grievances and demands of the Bourkes and Sir Morough were again 
set out. 

The Bovirkes declared that they would not have I'ebelled but for 
the commission to John Browne, that they had never done anything 
to break their protections, or done one groat of harm to any man 
until Browne and Gilson encountered them. 

Their other grievances were — oppression by sheriffs and other 
officers going about the country with more men than they were 
entitled to have with them, taking of their lands without order of 
law, hanging of gentlemen of land and living by martial law, especi- 
ally the two sons of Walter Fada and Justin MacDonnell, and tyranny 
and oppression by Sir Richard Bingham. 

Sir Morough's grievances were that the Isles of Arran and certain 
lands had been taken from him, and he said that he would not have 
rebelled but for Browne's commission. 

The Bourkes offered peace on these conditions — That the Mac- 
Williamship be restored, that no English officers be sent into 
MacWilliam's country, that Sir Richard be removed from the gover- 
norship, and that they should pay the composition rent. 


The Lord Deputy's insti-uctions to the commissioners, "They shall 
have sheriffs, and .shall not have a MacWilliani," rendered further 
discussion useless. 

But they had another conference at the New Castle on the 26th, 
when the commissioners pioposed a peace for a month, and that Sir 
]Morough, and the Blind Abbot, and Ulick Bourke, and Walter ne 
INIuUy should accompan}' them to Dublin to declare their grievances 
before the Council. These made such conditions as the commis- 
sioners could not accept. They desired not to be held responsible for 
breaches of peace during their absence, and avowed that they coidd 
not rely on their confederates to keep terms. The commissioners left 
Gal way on the 27th April. 

The failure to make peace was the result of the situation as it 
appeared to the rebels. They had killed the sheriff, and the 
O'Flaherty contingent had been routed ; the Lord Deputy had not 
dared to follow up this success by attacking the Bourkes, but with- 
drew all his forces from their country. When he sent to sue for 
jjeace, they could see no reason why the victors should submit to tei'ms 
imposed by a beaten enemy. If he wanted peace he must submit to 
their conditions. Moreover, they were in possession of the country. 
They could plunder any one in Mayo who did not submit to them, 
and could make raids into Roscommon and Sligo. It would be time 
enough to submit when the queen's forces came in irresistible strength. 
The reasoning was sound. They kept their country under their own 
control until the following February, except for Sir Richard's raid in 
May and Sir W. FitzWilliam's journey through it in September, 

The refusal to entertain the offer of peace prevented immediate 
inquiry into the alleged grievances, but the report of the four com- 
missioners was answered at length by Sir R. Bingham in November. 
From these documents the above account of their proceedings is 
taken. The report shows a desire to discredit Sir Richard by any 
means, and consists chiefly of allegations of want of politeness or 
consideration towards them, and unwillingness to co-operate with 
them. But it discloses the fact that he did meet their wishes on all 
points, although he expressed to them his opinion that the rebels 
who were pillaging the country ought to be prosecuted. On the face 
of their report some of their complaints were frivolous, and it was 
answered and explained in full by Sir Richard. 

Sir N. White seems to have been free from the bias of the majority 
of the commissioners, as he wrote to Burghley on the 9th May that 
he sees no reason why peace should not have been concluded "if the 
desire of revenge in some of us to condemn Sir Richard as author of 
the wars and hinderer of the peace were not the cause." But he 
probaljly erred as to the possibility of a peace at that time. 


When they left Galway the commissioners authorised Sir Richard 
to prosecute the rebels. At the end of April Sir Richard had 
received 100 foot and 30 horse in consequence of O'Rourk's adhesion 
to the rebels. FitzWilliam saw the futility of the Galway talk, and 
sent orders to Sir Richard on the 29th April to prosecute the rebels, 
and promised to send more men. 

By this time the rest of the county of Mayo had been forced to 
join the rebels in form, if not in action. Only MacMorris and David 
MacMorris, and Walter MacEryddery in Clanm orris, and William 
Bourke of Shrule, and a few others, held by the queen. In Ros- 
common some of the MacDermots, O'Oonor Roe's sons, and Dualtagh 
O'Conor of O'Oonor Don's sept, were out in arms. 

Sir Richard acted with skill and energy as usual. The Sheriff of 
Roscommon drove O'Rourk back to his own country, and suppressed 
the other rebels. He wQnt himself to Mayo with six companies, 
where the rebels fled before him. He marched through their moun- 
tains, and killed some without losing any of his own men, but did 
not get their cattle, which had been driven to the sea-shore and 
the islands. When he came out and encamped at Cong to rest his 
men, he met an order from the Lord Deputy directing him to 
withdraw all troops from MacWilliam's country, and to refrain from 
prosecuting the rebels. But the troops might defend themselves 
if attacked. If Sir Richard had not been thus stopped, the rebels 
would have submitted everywhere, and peace would have been made 
in a fortnight. All those who had joined the rebels only in appear- 
ance had abandoned them. The Blind Abbot and the leaders were 
now fugitives, skulking in the woods and hills. 

This order was made on the 10th May to allow the rebels free access 
to the commissioners, the Archbishop of Armagh, lately Bishop of 
Kilmore, Sir Robert Dillon, and Sir Thomas Le Strange, who were 
sent to Galway to treat with the rebels until the Lord Deputy should 
come himself to make peace. The Bishop of Meath was joined with 
them, then or soon after. 

The rebels had done comparatively little harm up to this time. 
Now the three counties of Mayo, Roscommon, and Sligo were left to 
their mercy for many weeks, and great damage was done when they 
were thus encouraged to undertake fresh enterprises. 

The commissioners started immediately, and sent protections to the 
leading rebels to enable them to come in to treat. This policy had 
immediate effect. On the 22nd May Walter Kittagh Bourke and 
the Clandonnells of Gallen and Costello, and some Sliocht Ulick 
Bourkes, invaded Leyny and Corran, where they pillaged and burnt, 
and drove off cattle. Walter's son Richard was killed by a gunshot 
at Tullyhugh, near Achonry. At the same time O'Rourk's brother 


took more prey on the other side. Walter Macllichard an larainn 
went into Costello, wlience he carried of? some of Theobald Dillon's 
goods and a gentleman who was in charge of them. Edward Ber- 
mingham was robbed of some horses. Grace O'Malley robbed the 
Arran islanders. She did not altogether give up " her old trade of 
maintenance by land and sea" after 1586, as she alleged in 1593, but 
was ready to resume it when the chance came. 

This sudden change was caused by a letter from the queen 
directing the Lord Deputy to adopt a more temperate course in 
the inferior governments, especially in Connaught. Hereupon he 
determined to make peace on almost any terms the Bourkes would 
give. Hitherto he had never cast doubt on the propriety of Sir 
Richard's proceedings, and had expressed his continued good opinion 
of him, notwithstanding the commissioners' report. Even Sir 
Geoffrey Fenton, no friend of Sir Richard, thought that no one matter 
had more pushed the Connaught rebels to disobedience than the 
spurning of their own minds against government. Up to the 31st 
May FitzWilliam affected to suspend his judgment till he went 
there, but after that he appears to have decided to make Sir Richard 
responsible for the rising, as the result of his tyranny, oppression, 
and extortion, and at last came to spare no means, just or unjust, 
to procure his conviction upon false charges if true charges could 
not be adduced. 

As he passed through Athlone on the 7th June he ordered Sir 
Richard to remain thereabouts. On arrival at Galway he found that 
the commissioners had arranged with the principal rebels, except 
Richard Bourke, for a submission, which they made on the 11th June 
in St. Nicholas's Church, remaining on their knees almost three- 
quarters of an hour. 

Next day the Bourkes handed in a Book of Complaints against 
Sir Richard Bingham and the queen's officers, and a petition praying, 
by way of redress — 

1. That a rate be laid down for pleading for pardons. 

2. For the removal of Sir Richard Bingham. 

3. For the qualification of extremity of martial law. 

4. That a man chosen from amongst themselves be appointed to 

collect the composition. 

5. Tliat gentlemen of the county be sheriffs. 

6. That no one be dispossessed of lands by provincial order with- 

out trial by law, and that such as have been dispossessed be 

7. That part of the yearly profits of MacWilliam allotted to the 

house of Castlebar, now in the queen's hands, be given to 
William Bourke, the Blind Abbot, for his maintenance. 


Though the submission was made on the 11th of June, the pro- 
ceedings went on until the submission and the conditions of peace 
were embodied in the following formal instrument on the 20th June, 
which is an interesting document, both for the actual terms of confes- 
sion and conditions of peace, and for comparison with the subsequent 
actions of these very humble and very contrite supplicants : — 


"Whereas Sir Moroughe ne doe O'Flartie of lar Connaught, chief 
of his name, William Burke the Blind Abbot, eldest of the low 
Burkes, Edmond Burke M'Thomas Evagherye, Meyler Oge M'Walter 
Fadda Burke, David O'Dowde, chief of his name, Hugh Duff eM'Moi-oghe 
O'Flartie, Shane M'Morice, Walter M'Tibott alias M'Tibott, Shane 
M'Thomas, Tibott Reoghe M'Tibott M'Gibbon, U'Donell, 

Edmond M'Tibott, Robert O'Mayle, Walter Kittaghe Burke, Walter 
ne , Teg roe O'Mayle, and Dualtaghe O'Connor of the sept 

of O'Connor Dun, being the chief and principal of such as lately 
entered into action of rebellion in the county of Mayo, and in the 
country of lar Connaught, the most of them brought into Galway 
against the coming of us the Lord Deputy, by the Lord Primate, the 
Lord Bishop of Meath, Sir Robert Dillon and Sir Thomas Le Strange, 
knights, commissioners appointed for that service, far as Galway afore- 
said, the 12 of this June 1589, in the body of St. Nicholas' Church 
exhibited to the Right Honourable Sir William Fitzwilliam, knight, 
Lord Deputy, and the Council, then present, upon their knees, their 
humble submission, the tenour whereof ensueth — 

" ' To the Right Honourable Sir William Fitzwilliam, knight. 
Lord Deputy General of Ireland. In most humble manner, and ac- 
cording to the loyalty, and most bounden duty to the Queen's most 
gracious Majesty, her royal crown and dignity, and also to your 
honourable good Lordship, maketh our lowly and humble submission. 
Sir Moroghe O'Flartie, knight, chief of his name, William Burke alias 
the Blind Abbot, chief of the low Burkes, Edmond Burke M'Thomas 
Evagherie, Walter M'Tibot alias M'Tibott, Edmond M'Tibott, and 
others now present, and set upon our knees before your Lordship 
with lamentation and grief for our unhappy revolt from our natural 
duty and allegiance, as also for all and singular our tenants, followers, 
and servants, and all other our most unhappy associates in this hateful 
odious action, raised, put in execution and practised in the county of 
Mayo, and the country of lar Connaught, or elsewhere wheresoever 
within the province of Connaught, whereof we, for us all, being from 
them hereunto authorized, and they swore and bound to us by oath 
and faith, to conform and stand to what orders or conditions soever we 
should agree and consent unto, Do not only acknowledge ourselves to 
be right heavy and humbly sorry, even from the bottom of our hearts, 


the cause or occasion thereof whatsoever notwithstanding ; but also 
we here do offer, for and in the name of us all, to stand and per- 
fox-m what order soever your good Lordship and her ISIajesty's Privy 
Council here, shall order and set down, as well for our foimer faults 
in this and late falling from our duties, as also for our unfeigned, 
loyal, and dutiful obedience to her Majesty, her crown and dignity, 
during our natural lives hereafter, most humbly assuring your honour- 
able lordship to accept this our humble and unfeigned submission, 
and that we may taste of her Majesty's most gracious mercy, as many 
others as grievous and hateful offenders heretofore have been. And 
we, from the bottom of our hearts, according to our bounden duties, 
shall, not only daily and continually, most humbly pray for our most 
gracious sovereign Lady and Queen, long to reign with prosperity 
over us, with faithful promise of the venture of our lives, and the 
spendings of our lands and goods to serve her Majesty at all times, 
but also for youi- Honours long to continue in honourable state 
amongst us.' 

"Upon which their petition and humble submission, we the Lord 
Deputy and the rest of her Majesty's Council (whose names are sub- 
scribed) entering into the consideration of the matters, and of the 
great desire they have to yield themselves to her Majesty's grace 
and mercy, and to stand to such directions and orders as we, in the 
behalf of her Highness, shall set down, have with the full and whole 
consent of the said Sir Morogh O'Flarte, William Burke, Meyler Oge, 
Hugh Duffe M'Morogh, O'Dowde, Shane M'Morice, Walter Tibott, 
Shane M'Thomas, Tibott Reoghe M'Tibott M'Gibbon, O'Donell, 

Walter Kittaghe Bourke, Walter ne Mulye, Teig roe O'Mayle, and 
Dualtaghe O'Connor of the sept of O'Connor Dun, concluded, ordered, 
and agreed, in manner and form following : — 

1. First, that evex'y sept shall deliver in such suiEcient pledges for 

the observation of the peace, and for their loyalties and obedi- 
ence to her Majesty and the state, as we the Lord Deputy and 
Council shall nominate and think meet. 

2. That the said Sir ^Moroghe, and the rest of the Burkes and 

others abovenamed, with the rest of their confederates, shall 
presently disperse their forces, and everyone to repair to his 
habitation, and to live as becometh good and dutiful subjects. 

3. They shall forthwith deliver to the Lord Deputy such Spaniards, 

Portagalls, and other foreigners of the Spanish fleet as are 
now amongst them. 

4. The said Sir Moroghe and the sept abovenamed shall make satis- 

faction of all spoils and hurts done by them since the first day 
of intelligences of the Commissioners, as the Lord Deputy shall 
nominate and appoint for that purpose. 


5. They shall pay svich fine to the use of her Majesty, for their 

undutiful breaking out into action of rebellion, as the Lord 
Deputy shall lay down. 

6. All which being performed by the said Sir Moroghe and the rest 

according to the express meaning hereof, then they and every 
of them to have her Majesty's gracious general pardon for 
their offences past. In witness whereof we the Lord Deputy 
and the rest of her Majesty's Council have hereunto put our 
hands, and for the better accomplishment of the premises, the 
said Sir Moroghe and the rest abovenamed, in behalf of them- 
selves and the rest of their confederates, have likewise here- 
unto put their hands. At Gal way the 20th June, in the 31 
year of the reign of our sovereign Lady Elizabeth, by the 
Grace of God, Queen of England, France, and Ireland, 
Defender of the Faith, &c. In the presence of the Arch- 
bishop of Tuam, the Earl of Clanricard, the Bishop of Kildare, 
the Bishop of Elfin, the Bishop of Kilmacoughe, the Lord 
Birmingham, the Lox'd of Trimlaston, the Baron of Donkallin, 
Sir Hubert Burke, M'Davie, Knight, the Mayor and 

Aldermen of Galway, and divers others whose names, are 
thereupon endorsed. 
" William Burke the Blind Abbot's mark y^. Sir Moroghe ne doe 
O'Flartie's mark )(. Walter Kiltagh Burke's mark y^. Dualtaghe 
O'Connor's mark )^. Tig roe O'Mayley's mark)(. Walter ne Mully's 

markX- Edm. M'Tibbott's mark X- Tibbott M'Gibbon's mark X- 
Shane M'Morice's mark X- Shane M'Thomas's mark X- 

" John Armachan. Thomas Midensis. Robert Dillon. Lucas 
Dillon. Thos. Le Strange. Geofrey Fenton. 

" Subscribed by the parties within named, and they solemnly swore 
upon the holy Evangelists, as well for the performance of the peace, 
and all and every the articles within contained, as for their loyalties 
and duties to her Majesty henceforth ; and for payment of her 
Majesty's composition money, in the presence of those whose names 
are underwritten. 

" W. Tuamensis. U. Clanricard. Peter Trimelston. R. Dunkellin. 
Ed. Athenry. Thomas Dillon. Andrew Morris, Mayor of Galway. 
Ricard Burke. Nath. Dillon. Will. Bowen. Will. Martin, Sheriff 
of the Co. of Galway. Dominick Browne. Era. Sheres. Edw. Bir- 
mingham. George Morice, Bailiff of Galway." ^ 

The peace appears a triumph of moderate policy which secured its 
ends by peaceful suasion, and brought the whole of Mayo and lar 
Connaught to obedience to the law by willing consent of the rebels, 
but it has a different appearance when the light of contemporary 
circumstances and of subsequent events is turned on it. 
1 Brit. Mus. Cottou, Titus B, xiii. f. 446. 


The rebels did nothing beyond kneeling in church with a petition 
and asreeing to terms for future fulfilment. An Irish chieftain's 
submission was nothing unless he gave good hostages. When he 
came to submit he left them behind him on his departure. None 
were given now. Some seem to have been given later, but by minor 
rebels. The Blind Abbot gave none, though he was head of the 
rebellion, as chief of the Lower Bourkes and claimant of the Mac- 
Williamship. When his hostages were demanded in October he 
denied that he had ever promised to give them. The submission was 
not real. 

The rebels were left in possession. The queen's law and her 
officers were withdrawn from their country, and Sir Richard was 
forbidden to use force against them or O'Rouik who had not made 
peace, and was forbidden to hold sessions or circuit of assize until 
FitzWilliam should come again himself and hold them in every 
county. On their side the rebels acted as if they had made no peace. 
Within a fortnight they had broken down three of Theobald Dillon's 
castles, and had robbed his brother's house, and robbery and violence 
were unchecked. 

The circumstances and events of the following months point to a 
secret agreement of FitzWilliam and the rebels, that they should 
make the submission and peace, and that he should not enforce the 
conditions, and should procure the removal of Sir Richard Bingham. 



From this peace dates Sir W. FitzWilliam's determination to pro- 
cure an unjust condemnation of Sir R. Bingham for misgovernment. 
His visit to Connaught must have shown him that none could be 
procured justly. To compass this end he appointed the late com- 
missioners foi' this peace, and Francis Barkley and Fowle as com- 
missioners for trial of Sir Richard upon the charges and complaints 
made in the report of the first set of commissioners, and in the 
Books of Complaints lodged by the rebels. The Archbishop and 
Sir Thomas Le Strange have not been accused of hostility to Sir 
Richard. The Bishop of Meath, and Sir R. Dillon, and the two 
new commissioners could be relied on to convict of a false charge 
on false evidence. Barkley had made false charges in 1586. Fowle 
is called an open enemy of Sir Richard. This commission drew 
from Sir Francis Walsingham a letter of rebuke and condemnation 
of the endeavours to procure a conviction by means of enemies, and 
a warning that it was no unknown thing for a deputy to be accused 

The queen's government ordered that the trial be held in Dublin, 
before the Lord Deputy and Council, except the Bishop of Meath 
and Sir R. Dillon, and before holding sessions in Connaught. The 
orders were disregarded as long as possible. In September the Lord 
Deputy had held the sessions, and had given copies of only parts 
of the complaints. The delays were caused by the impossibility of 
making out a case. Those who had lodged complaints took no 
further interest in them. At last FitzWilliam had to give the 
copies, Sir Richard put in answers, and the trial began on the Sth 
November, and continued during that month. Acquittal on all 
points was recorded on the 4th December, and was published next 

As nothing was proved against the governor, it is needless to 
dwell on the complaints and trial, which have been treated at length 
in the *' Galway Archaeological and Historical Society's Journal," Vol. 
iv., p. 161. The result established Sir Richard's discretion, honesty, 
justice, and fairness. 



FitzWilliam ignored the petition for redress, but two points deserve 
notice. It is not quite clear what is meant by the demand for 
" qualification of the extremity of martial law ; " probably the same 
thing as the complaint made in April of hanging of gentlemen of 
land and living by mai-tial law; and their desire was in that case 
that such further restriction should be put upon its use as would 
exempt gentlemen of the rank of Walter Fada's sons and Justin 
MacDonnell from being dealt with. 

When Sir Richard came to the government of Connaught every 
sheriff had a commission for martial law. These were withdrawn, 
and a commission was given to the chief commissioner only. 
Execution by martial law did not mean execution by the mere 
order of the governor. Offenders were tried and convicted upon 
evidence, and the sentence was carried into execution by a warrant 
under the hand of the chief commissioner and one or more of his 
council. It applied only to cases of treason or felony, when the 
offender owned less than 40s. a year of freehold land or £10 of 
goods. The object of this restriction was to secure for the treasury 
the benefit of the forfeiture which followed upon conviction after 
trial by the common law. 

Sir Richard denied that those three men owned any lands or 
goods of their own. Men might hold high position in an Irish tribe, 
and have no land and no property of their own worth mentioning. 
They had but a general right with other members of the family ; 
they were not in the habit of farming themselves, and lived upon 
the tenants or subjects of their family. The English land tenures 
did not prevail generally in JNlayo as yet. Though the sons of 
Walter Fada were allowed free land by the indenture of com- 
position, their houses are not named, and it is very likely that no 
part of the land belonging to the family of David Bourke had been 
assigned to them. 

Execution by martial law was not the same as military execution 
in the field. Rebels in arms and enemies taken prisoners, not 
having surrendered upon terms, were put to death or reserved at 
the discretion of the officer commanding on the spot. Usually 
they were put to death, vinless the I'ank or proj)erty of any one 
made hiiu woi'th keeping foi' supeiioi' ordei'S, or for trial by the 
common law. 

The demand that no one be dispossessed of lands by provincial 
oi-der without trial by law, and that such as have been dispossessed 
be restored, seems to be a version of Walter ne Mully's complaint 
made to the commissioners in April, that Bowen and Garvey had 
dispossessed him of two castles, regarding which Sir R. Bingham 
replied that these matters had theii' course in law in open sessions. 


He denied that any man's land had been taken from him unhxwfully. 
If such a thing had ever occurred, it could have been proved easily. 
The redress desired appears to have been the abolition of the local 
court, whose operation could not be other than displeasing to men 
who had been subject to no legal jurisdiction. The petition must 
have been drawn up for the rebels, and cast into such form as their 
advisers thought best. The rebels could not have drawn it up in 
English as it was put in. 

Unable to remove Sir Richard from office, Fitz William did what 
served the rebels better than the substitution of one governor for 
another, — restrained Sir Richard from interfering with them, and left 
them in a state of independence for seven months moi-e. 

The damage done by the Bourkes before and after the peace up 
to the end of August was calculated at =£15,809, according to claims 
made, which were probably exaggerated, but, on the other hand, a 
very great deal of damage must have been done and petty robbery 
which was not reported. 

The Lord Deputy went to Munster in August, and came by 
Limerick through Clare to Gal way on 2nd September. Sir M. 
O'Flaherty came in, and gave Gal way merchants' bonds for his 

On the 8th September and following days he held a sessions at 
Kilmaine. Six principal men of the Bourkes attended, but the 
Blind Abbot, Walter Kittagh, and Shane MacTibbot, for themselves 
and all the Bourkes and Clandonnells in genei'al, sent a letter of 
excuse that they were engaged against the Scots in Erris. 

During this circuit FitzWilliam was trying to find matter against 
Sir Richard and his officers. Presentments were made in sessions 
for supplies taken up, ,£250 against Sir Richard, and =£2000 against 
Fitz William's train. These were only ex parte statements, not 
findings on evidence, but they throw light on the conditions of 
the country owing to the explanations which followed. 

As regards presentments made against him, it appears that Sir 
Richard's method was to pay ready money for all his own supplies. 
It was impossible to carry on the queen's service at this time 
unless officers were allowed to take up supplies for which they 
gave bills. He paid these bills out of the officers' allowances or 
the revenues. 

Some of the presentments against him were in respect of 205 
cattle given to him as a wedding present Avhen he returned to 
Ireland in 1588, having been married in England. Lord Clanricard 
and others certified that the presentment had been made unjustly 
at Galway in respect of 50 cattle which they had given freely, 
and P. Barrett and Walter Kittagh Bourke declared that they 


had given some cows freely from Tirawley. A list shows that none 
of the rebels had given anything. 

Fitz\\'illiam alleged that his train paid ready money, and that 
the officers gave bills for the soldiers. These bills had not been 
paid in November, nor had he paid for what he took on his passage 
into Ulster the year before. 

He had no money while in Galway in June, and complained that 
the merchants would not lend him more than £200, which he got 
with fair speeches, but " harder speeches and threatening " failed 
to extiact more. Sir J. Perrot had not paid for some of his supplies 
even in 1595. The Lord Deputy's presence therefore was a heavy 
burden on the country. 

In the first week of September seven galleys with 400 to 600 Scots 
" of the sept of the Barrones " came to Erris under guidance of one 
of Grace O'Malley's sons, having been made believe that the Bourkes 
would engage them. At this moment the Bourkes did not want 
them. The Lord Depvity, with a large force, was on his way to their 
country, and engagement of these fighting men would have been a 
declaration of war. Their immediate anxiety was to get the Lord 
Deputy out of the province as soon as possible. 

A quarrel ensued, and the Scots came to blows with their guides. 
They plundered the country and killed several hundreds of cattle, and 
took away the hides and tallow. 

From Kilmaine FitzWilliam went on to Sligo. In that county 
some Galway merchants in his train were robbed of ^660 worth of 
goods, and Sir Robert Dillon lost his horse. After Sligo he held 
sessions in Roscommon, and thence went out of Connaught. Even 
before he left it the Blind Abbot spoiled Theobald Dillon's lands in 
Costello, and other bands robbed in lar Connaught. 

The Bourkes threw off the pretence of obedience to the queen 
in the beginning of October. They would not let any Englishman 
or civil person — that is, any Irishman who lived according to 
English custom — live among them, and re-established their old 

On the 15th October William Bourke was made MacWilliam on 
Rausakeera, near Kilmaine, with the visual Irish forms. MacTibbot 
handed him the rod and called him MacWilliam. In 1595 Theobald 
Bourke was inaugui-ated at the same place and proclaimed by Mac- 
Tibbot. These are the only references to the place or form of 
inauguration of MacWilliam Eighter. As Rausakeera (Rath Essa 
Caerach) is but an ordinary fort, it is likely to have been in yet 
earlier times the inauguration place of the chiefs of the Conmaicne. 
Marcus Mac an Ab was made MacDonnell. 

Disorder was so great that no man of importance dared to live out 


of a castle. The castle of Lough Mask was taken from Coraerford's 
garrison for Mac William. They attacked but failed to take Thomas 
Nolan's castle. They plundered John Browne of the Neale, a nephew 
probably of the late sheriff, T. Chaloner, Edw. Birmingham and 
Miles Kavanagh, and William Bourke of Shrule, and llnaidhri 
O'Flaherty in Moycullen. 

The Blind Abbot received FitzWilliam's envoys, Theobald Dillon, 
Lord Athenry, and MacDavid, on the •22nd October, refused to 
give pledges, and denied that he had promised them to the Lord 

Early in November Robuck French went to arrange for the 
composition rent and got satisfactory assurances ; the Blind Abbot 
and some gentlemen even went to a parley hill and there ordered 
the collectors to make payment, but it is not recorded that any one 
paid rent. They promised to submit themselves to the queen and 
Lord Deputy. 

In his desire to please and pacify, the Blind Abbot wrote a letter 
dated at Donamona on the 22nd of November, protesting that he 
assumed the name of MacWilliam in loyalty and zeal for the queen's 
service, to enable him to restore the proceeds of robbei'y in other 
counties which might have been brought into Mayo. 

" I understand you are highly offended with me for taking the 
name of MacWilliam upon me. I have done the same by the counsel 
of some of the bad people of this country, whereby I might make 
restitution of certain stealths supposed to have come into the country, 
if that the same might be justly proved, without which or other 
authority I could not do it. I did not take the said name upon me 
for any evil intent, but for the purpose aforesaid. And if the same 
be done by me rashly and contrary to my duty, I humbly submit 
myself to your honour, and would have come myself to you to make 
my submission if that I had the means to bear my charges. And I 
do provide for the same and will come to your honour as soon as I 
can. And for the taking of Ballyloughmask, I will be ready to yield 
it up again. Hoping your honour will have some pity of my being 
the eldest of my name and best in the country, and will be as bene- 
ficial to me as to other Irish lords, I take my leave." ^ 

The patience of the English Government was exhausted now. The 
queen wrote herself to Fitz William, expressing her displeasure at the 
Bourkes' rebellion and restoration of the MacWilliamship, and order- 
ing him to assist Sir Richard Bingham to suppress the rebels. 

The trial of Sir Richard was now nearly over. He was acquitted 
of all charges on the 4th December and was ordered to go to 
Connaught ; but in spite of the queen's orders, he was not yet let 
i S.P.I.K, CXLVIIL 19. 



meiUlle with the rebels, who were still in arms and plundering as 

Fit/, William stiirted for Galway on the 16th, and had about 1500 
men there at the end of the month, besides the forces of the Earls of 
Clanricard and Thomond. 

About this time 500 rebels were encamped near Roscommon, 
having burnt and robbed many towns in the plains of Connaught. 
Edmund Macllichard an larainn and Coagh O'Madden, two important 
pledges, escaped from Galway. Two MacCostellos were killed in 
Slievemurry by an O'Kelly, whom they must have gone to rob, as 
the O'Kellys did not join the rebels, and this was only a week before 

The Lord Deputy issued a proclamation on the 23rd December at 
Galway, inviting the rebels to come in and treat by the 12th January. 
As it said nothing about their returning, they justly suspected and 
did not come in, except Sir M. O'Flaherty, who was seized because 
he refused to give a son as a pledge, and O'Dowda, who was seized to 
make him surrender Castleconor to the queen and give better pledges. 
FitzWilliam sent his envoys to persuade the rebels to come. First 
Robert Fowle and James Lynch reported that the Blind Abbot and 
others would not come in, saying that they could not provide thirty- 
eight pledges, and that if the best of them came in they would never 
get out, and that they could not control the country without a chief, 
by whatever name. The Blind Abbot, Walter ne Mully, and Edmund 
Bourke of Cong and others asked for a safe conduct to come and 

Upon receipt of this report, dated 4th January, FitzWilliam sent 
out Thomas Dillon, Nich. Lynch, and Theobald Dillon, who reported 
on the 10th that they held a conference at Rosserrilly with the 
Blind Abbot, Walter Kittagh, Edmund and Walter ne Mully Bourke, 
and about ] 00 others, who kept on the west side of the river, refusing 
to come into Galway except on protection with liberty to withdraw. 
The first three wrote to that effect on the 10th. 

On 12th January commission was given to Sir R. Bingham to 
prosecute the rebels and command the forces. Sir Murrough and 
O'Dowda were left in his hands, to be dealt with at his discretion, 
with their own consent, when the Lord Deputy and Council left 
Galway. Richard Og MacJonyn and some O'Kellys and others 
were apprehended as a precaution. This Richard Og appears in 
many records of the time, and seems to have had considerable 

About this time the Blind Abbot's sons made a raid into Airtech. 
On their return they attacked the castle of Bennfada in North 
Costello and burnt the town. 


Sir Richard assembled a fox-ce at Cong, mustering 809 soldiers and 
228 kerne on the 1st February. The Earl of Thomond " footed it in 
the mountains " with Sir Richard, and the Earl of Clanricard also 
did good service. The force was small but ample for the service. 
Sir Richai-d thus describes the rebels to whom FitzWilliam had been 
suing for peace : — 

" The whole force which the Burkes could make were not 900 men, 
whereof the one half were churls, only armed with Gallowglass axes. 
We would have encountered 3000 of them such as they, for God 
knoweth they were most badly furnished, and very rags to look 
upon, but the manner of the country is to double or treble every- 
thing upon like occasion. If all the Irishry in Connaught were out 
in rebellion, both earls and others, they were not able to make 3000 
men to serve. The sons of Edmund Burke of Castlebarry are in 
the Low Countries with Stanley." ^ 

This is the last we hear of Edmund's sons. They were the first 
Bourkes who went to serve abroad with the queen's enemies. Sir 
William Stanley had deserted from her army. 

On the 3rd February the force moved to Bellanaloob, where some 
MacDonnells opened communications, and on the 6th to Castlebar, 
where a prisoner disclosed an intended ambush at Barnagee. A few 
shots were fired into the camp. Next day as they moved down 
Barnagee about four hundred rebels made a feeble attack on the 
rear, and were driven off by a discharge of shot. The halt seems 
to have been made near the foot of the pass. The march from 
Castlebar must have been very laborious in those days. 

On the 8th they got into Tirawley. Seven horsemen had been 
following at a distance, knowing that Sir Richard had no cavalry. 
Five of Lord Thomond's kerne chased three or four rebel kerne who 
were crossing a bog, not seeing the horsemen, who suddenly charged 
upon them, killing one and wounding another. One of the kerne, 
^being almost overtaken, turned and dealt a stroke with his sword 
which nearly cut off the horseman's foot at the ankle, and so escaped 
unhurt. The horseman was the Blind Abbot, and his companions 
were Walter Kittagh, Edmund MacRicaird an larainn, and four other 
men of rank. 

The Blind Abbot was taken to an island in Lough Con, where a 
surgeon cut the foot off. Thus ended William Bourke's pretension 
to the chieftainship. Being now insignificant. Sir Richard never 
troubled about him again, and he got his pardon like the rest. The 
last we hear of him is that he died in September 1598 in Thomond, 
and was buried in Quin Abbey. 

The Bourkes and their allies had now lost heart. As the soldiers 
1 S.P.I.E., CLL 8L 


entered Tirawley they burnt their own towns and corn before them. 
Sir Richard marched by Ballysakeery into the Laggan, burning what 
corn the rebels left, so that their losses in this matter came in the 
whole to 1200 ricks or so. Some 400 to 500 cows were collected. 
On the 11th Alexander MacHugh Boy MacDonnell submitted un- 
conditionally, and gave his son as a pledge. The Clandonnells, 
dependants of the Bourkes, gave up when they found that the 
Bourkes would not fight. 

The soldiers marched into the mountains of Erris on the 12th, and 
got there 1600 cows, which were much wanted as food. On the 16th 
they reached Burrishoole. 

On the 18th Captain St. Leger took half the forces into MacPhilip's 
country (MacPhilpin's?), met 120 Gallowglasses, slew many and chased 
the rest, and slew the churls and took 70 cows. Next day Sir Richard 
took the other half of the forces into the other half of the fastness, 
took 100 cows, and slew churls, women, and children. 

Lord Clanricard and others with their horsemen took 400 cows 
from Gallen, and slew some rebels. The English of Roscommon and 
the queen's men under Captain John Bingham and others slew 12 
rebels and took 300 cows. 

This fastness must have been the wild, rough country north and 
west of Castlebar. Mountain, or bog, or high wood was not considered 
to be a fastness, however difficult to travel over, but rough country 
covered with brakes of thorn, hazels, briars, and the like tangled 
growth, where quantities of cattle and men could lurk and not be 
found easily. 

On the 22nd Feragh MacDonnell came on behalf of all MacWilliam's 
men to sue for peace, which was promised, and he was ordered to meet 
the Governor at Castlecarra. Next day Edmund MacRicaird an 
larainn and other septs sent to treat for peace. He and Marcus 
Mac an Ab MacDonnell and Feragh MacDonnell came in to treat. 
Edmund made his peace. Marcus was left as a pledge. 

On the 21st February Sir Richard was at Togher again, and ready^ 
after resting his men, to take the field in spite of the hardships of the 
winter campaign, which in his opinion punished rebels far more than 
they could be punished in summer. The queen's troops were badly 
supplied ; the rebels were not supplied at all. But the rebels were 
now all dispersed, and were craving mercy in earnest. The Bourkes 
and Clandonnells submitted wholly to the conditions which he imposed, 
of w^hich we know only that the Bourkes were to pay a fine for their 
rebellion. By the 10th March all the septs of Mayo which had been 
in rebellion had been received into the queen's peace, and had engaged 
to pay all the charges of the war. These were not to be imposed on 
them alone, but also on those countries which had risen. 


The costs of the rebellions were :— 

War against Bourkes and Scots in 1586 . . . £1476 3 4 

others in 1589-1590 . . 3296 17 6 

After the peace was made, but before she knew of it, Grace O'Malley 
took two or three cargo-boats to the Isles of Arran and robbed some 
of Sir Thomas Le Sti-ange's men to the value of 20 marks. Richard 
Bourke, her son-in-law, was put in charge of her until she restored 
the plunder and made good the damages. 

Peace being established in Mayo, Sir Richard sent forces against 
O'Rourk, who fled first to Ulster and afterwards to Scotland. The 
Sligo and Roscommon rebels were feeble and gave no trouble. 

In September the Governor reported that Walter Kittagh, Walter 
ne Mully, Ednmnd of Cong, and other Bourkes and the Clandonnells 
had met him at Gal way, and that the Bourkes had paid the composition 
rent and a fine for revolt. He suggested that the costs should be 
charged on the Bourkes and the countries which joined them — lar 
Connaught, the Joys' country, Tireragh, O'Conor Roe's and O'Rourk's 

When peace was fully restored garrisons were put in Cong, Greg- 
more near Kilmaine, Bellanaloob, and Castle ne Gye, which is 
pi'obably the castle on the shore in Kilcummin parish. 


FROM 1590 TO 1595. 

At the end of May 1591 seven hundred Scots, under Angus MacEllin 
or Campbell and Rory jNIacE ISTeill Barre, landed in Erris from thirteen 
galleys. The Bourkes of Sliocht Ulick went forward to meet them, 
sending word to John Bingham, the sheriff, and asking him to help. 
He went forward to help them. Sir Richard wrote for another band 
of soldiers, as it was not safe to go into Erris with a small force, lest 
the Bourkes and Scots should combine against it. 

The Bourkes drove the Scots away before any help reached them, 
killing forty, among whom were Owen M'E Neill Barre and a son of 
MacLeod. The Bourkes lost Richard and Thomas, sons of the Blind 
Abbot, and John MacMeyler Oge MacGibbon, killed ; David and 
Meyler, sons of Ulick Bourke of Erris, and eighteen followers of 
Sliocht Ulick were severely wounded. This action was on the 2nd 
June 1591. 

When the Bourkes thus successfully defended themselves from 
robbers, it was for their own benefit, and not from a law-abiding 
spirit. Sir Richard's doubts were soon justified. 

His brother, Captain John Bingham, had been employed in command 
of a company since Sir Richard came to Connaught. Somewhat 
before this time he settled at Cloonagashel, which he had bought. 
He had bought also the lease of Edmund Bourke's forfeited Castlebar 
estate for 100 cows and the unpaid rent of <£5 a year since 1586, fi-om 
Bryan FitzWilliam, the Lord Deputy's brother. In April 1591 he 
was made Sheriff of Mayo. He was now arranging to rebuild Castle- 
bar, which the Bourkes had broken down. Judging by Downing's 
description, written in 1585, as a large bawn containing two round 
towers or castles and a dwelling-house, it was of considerable size and 
suitable for a garrison, and we find that Sir Richard proposed later on 
that it should be occupied for the queen. After restoration Captain 
Bingham held it by a ward of twelve Englishmen. Occupation by an 
English sheriff and his men would put a very unpleasant restraint 
upon the Sleight Ulick Bourke, which they sought to prevent by 
murdering Captain Bingham. 

Under colour of going to see a duel arranged to be fought in June 


FROM 1590 TO 1595. 247 

between "William Bourke of Ardnarea, son of Sir Jolin, and Alexander 
MacDonnell, son of Hugh Boy, in which William was killed, they 
collected some four hundred men and waylaid Captain Bingham about 
the 20th June, at a place eleven miles from Cloonagashel, as he went 
to Castlebar with sixty of the garrison foot- soldiers. Their attack 
was a disastrovis failure. They wounded one man slightly with a 
bullet. Eight of their men were killed ; thirty-five were seriously 
wounded ; the rest fled. They were so cowed that they begged for 
mercy, which the Governor and Council granted, exacting only some 
better conditions than were made at the last peace, and taking as 
pledge the eldest son of Ulick of Erris. All was finished in a week. 

Not want of courage but want of discipline was the cause of this 
pitiful display. The soldiers would be of the best in Ireland, the 
permanent company of Connaught, trained under the Governor's eye. 
On the other side was a mob of country gentlemen and their de- 
pendents, armed with swords, spears, and axes, and only a few 

At the end of the year Sir Richard induced five Spaniards and one 
Italian to leave the Bourkes and go to their own country. Sir W. 
FitzWilliam imprisoned them in Dublin, in breach of conditions of 

Walter Kittagh, the chief of the Tirawley Bourkes, died towards 
the end of the year, and Walter ne Mully was murdered at night by 
his brother David's son Edmund and some MacDonnells. He had 
been for some years the most active, though not the senior, of the 
Sliocht Walter Bourkes. Thus in one year these names and that of 
the Blind Abbot disappear from the history of Mayo. 

Sir R. Bingham's letters of this time show that he was intent on 
the improvement of the social and matei-ial condition of the country. 
He saw the difl&culty of inducing the people to abandon their old 
habits and submit to the restraints of law and order. Faults had 
been found with the composition, and he earnestly deprecated tamper- 
ing with it, preferring to tolerate those faults rather than unsettle 
men's minds. He writes that by Connaught custom tenants may 
remove from one landlord to another. Hence uncertainty of com- 
position, as it is not on waste, and some people keep a certain extent 
waste from Lady Day to Michaelmas as winterage, so that the 
composition is short for a half-year. Moreover, the tenants prefer the 
free land. The only remedy was the reduction of the greatness of the 
septs, as all rebellions of the Bourkes and others are due to their 
dislike of the abolition of Brehon Law, and the composition cannot be 
certain until the freeholders lease their lands to their tenants and so 
stop the yearly flitting. 

The work in hand was to produce a state of security, to protect the 


tenants from the oppression which they had to endure under the 
practice of the great men going about with gangs of armed men 
and living on them. To make the composition insecure would have 
withdrawn the foundation of his work. 

Early in 1592 a sessions was held in Mayo at which MacTibbot and 
Moyler Oge Bourke were tried and executed for offences not named, 
but such incidents as the murder of Walter ne Mully, which is recorded, 
were not unusual events of those days. Two others were imprisoned. 
Regarding these he writes : " I hope, by little and little, that country 
will come to a very good reformation, for indeed if a few of their old 
practisers and principal ringleaders were taken away, that country 
would be brought to as good terms of obedience as the English Pale." ^ 

The bishops O'Hely and O'Boyle on the Ulster side, trying to raise 
rebellion in Connaught in aid of Hugh Roe O'Donnell and promising 
foreign help to come, failed to gain adhesion of any of the Mayo septs 
except the Sliocht Ulick, who were trying to buy Castlebar from 
Captain Bingham that the Governor's intention of restoring it might 
come to naught. They entered into communication with O'Donnell 
and took up an attitude of hostility to the Government. Hemmed 
in by quiet baronies, they had to confine themselves to their own 
countries, and could do no more than throw down a few stones of the 
broken castles of Kinturk and Castlebar. 

Sir Richard went to Cloonagashel at the end of May to hold sessions 
for Mayo, suppress this rebellion, and arrange for the restoration and 
the garrisoning of Castlebar. Most of the chief gentlemen of Kil- 
maine, Clanmorris, Costello, Gallen, and Tirawley attended, a sign of 
peaceable intentions. Sir M. O'Flaherty had offered his services 
against the Bourkes if needed. Lords Clanricard and Athenry, 
Justice Thomas Dillon, Nicholas Mordant, John Bingham, and Gerald 
Comerford, Councillors, were present. 

On Friday before 1st July the Bourkes wrote for a safe conduct 
for some of them to come in to treat for peace, which was given. 
They agreed among themselves to come in and submit, but at this 
point some friends of Feragh MacDonnell, who was then awaiting 
trial on a capital charge, on which he was tried and executed, per- 
suaded the Bourkes to rescue him before doing so. Some of the 
principal MacDonnells thereupon forsook them. 

They came to the castle by night and attacked an hour before day- 
light. The watch beat them off with the help of a few soldiers who 
were sleeping outside in the trenches, only sixteen men being engaged 
before the Bourkes fled, of whom five were wounded. The Bourkes 
had six men killed and fourteen or so wounded. One of their 
MacDonnells was left with a broken thigh. 
1 S.P.I.E., CLXIV. 26. 

FROM 1590 TO 1595. 249 

Next day the Bourkes asked for safe conduct to treat, which was 
sent to them. They were not yet in earnest and refused to give 
good pledges, seeking to gain time, as they hoped for help from 
O'Donnell, to whom they sent a son of the Blind Abbot and a 

O'Donnell's submission in first week of August put them on their 
resources, which they hoped to strengthen by hiring O'Donnell's Scots. 
On the other hand, Sir Richard did not intend to take the field until 
some fortification which he was making there was finished, when he 
purposed to suppress the rebellion and re-edif}^ Castlebar to hold a 
garrison. The work was finished, and he moved to Gweeshadan at 
the end of the second week of August, where he was for some time, 
hoping to effect a peace. The operations after this are best told in 
his letter of 25th September,^ which I have abstracted slightly in 
parts : — 

"Though after their attack upon us here in Sessions the Bourkes 
affected a desire for peace, yet they refused reasonable terms, being 
fed with hopes by O'Donnell and the Popish bishops James O'Hely 
and Neale O'Boyle, and trusting to a combination with him. I inter- 
cepted a bag of Irish letters carried hence from the Burkes to O'Donnell 
by O'Donnell's own Gallowglass, and sundry letters to the said two 
Popish Bishops, to whose judgment the Burkes offered to stand in all 
things betwixt them and Hugh Roe O'Donnell. It appeared from 
the letters that O'Donnell had promised to come hither to join the 
Burkes, and they said they would never submit again to any foreigners. 
But as Hugh Roe performed nothing and I drew near they by degrees 
began to make good offers. I had arranged for two baiks, one of a 
good burthen owned by Valentine Blake of Galway, with four or five 
great boats or pinnaces to meet me at Burrishoole. I lay long at 
Gissadan, and finding the Burkes would not come to terms, I gathered 
the forces which I had prepared with assistance of the Earl of Clan- 
ricard, Theobald Dillon, and marched towards the mountains. 

"The very first day I removed from Gissadan towards the Burkes, 
the captains of their Gallowglasses, viz. Tirlough Roe MacMarcus and 
Phelim MacMarcus, the best of all the Clandonnells, came in to me 
upon their knees, offering to stand to what conditions soever myself 
and the rest (in Her Majesty's behalf) should prescribe, and being 
thereupon received, they would not depart from me in many days 
after. Then the Burkes seeing the Clandonnells to have forsaken 
them, Edmund Burke MacRichard an larainn (the best of the sept of 
Ulick) came in great haste in to us the same day, offering in the 
behalf of all the rest to perform all such conditions as on Her Majesty^s 
behalf should be required of them, so the prosecution might be for- 
1 S.P.I.E., CLXYI. 66. 


borne and the Burkes received into Her Majesty's protection. This 
submission was accepted, and we diverted with all the forces, and 
took our next way to Burrishoole, forbearing in our march to commit 
any kind of spoil. 

" At Burrishoole we met our shipping, and so continued there two 
nights all together. The shipping had done great service, for the 
same had cleared all their islands. From Burrishoole we removed 
to Cahernamart, whither our boats came to us, and from thence to 
Aghagower in the Ovvles ; and at this place Tibbot Burke MacRichard 
an larainn came in to us, and agreed unto all things for the Burkes, 
O'Malleys, and Clangibbons to be received into Her Majesty's mercy 
and protection, laying in his foster-father Edmund MacTibbot and 
one Tibbot MacGibbon to remain as pledges till the other pledges for 
the several septs should be brought in, and the other conditions be 
performed at full. 

" Here we had somewhat to do with the Burkes, for that they would 
needs have had the sept of the Joys upon their peace (as they termed 
it), which myself would in no sort allow of. For indeed those Joys 
are a people that lie in the greatest fastness, I think, within all 
Ireland, for mountain, wood, and bog, between the Burkes and 
O'Flahertys, and are challenged to be followers of the O'Flahertys. 
But in the end the Burkes were content to leave the Joys to deal for 
themselves, and promised to serve against the Joys if need were. 

" The chiefest conditions laid down to the Burkes were these, viz. 
that every principal sept should lay in a separate pledge, namely, the 
Burkes by themselves, the Clangibbons by themselves, and so in like 
sort the O'Malleys, as also the Clandonnells, by which we have divided 
them one from another. And upon all these septs (for of each name 
there are divers septs) we shall have nine or ten pledges. They are 
to pay 1500 marks towards cost of soldiers specially raised. And 
within a certain time they are to make restitution of spoils com- 
mitted on any of Her Majesty's subjects since 1588. They had done 
no pennyworth of harm since this action began. 

" Thence we marched to Ballynonagh on the side of Lough Mask, 
where the Joys came and submitted upon like terms, and to pay 500 
marks as their share of charges of the action. 

" Thus the pacification was brought about within eight days. Weak 
as these septs are, no temporising will bring them to obedience once 
they stand upon terms. Whatever grace is offered them and not 
sought by themselves, they impute it to Her Majesty's weakness 
to suppress them, and to their own strength and likelihood to 

" But in very truth the rebellions of these people are carried still in 
the policy of three or four of their chief men, which in time of peace 

FROM 1590 TO 1595. 251 

do live by the spoil of the rest under them, and in time of stirs do 
maintain their greatness, the inferior people and such as have any 
goods of their own being tractable enongh to live in obedience. 
Namely, I find the Devil's Hook's son, Edmund MacTlichard an 
larainn, and Tibbot MacRichard an larainn to be men of no posses- 
sions, or to have of any goods so much as half a dozen cows apiece, 
and yet in the peaceablest time that is, every one of them has daily 
attending on him twenty or thirty loose knaves, which he maintains 
upon the inhabitants of the country. And the way to reform this 
must be, as I take it, to lay here and there amongst them such small 
garrisons or wards as shall be able to match the loose and ill men, 
and defend the better sort against the tyrannies of the others ; and 
then will he that has wealth" and goods of his own be glad to depend 
on the State (finding the sweet thereof) and to put his hand to weed 
out the evil members. As I hope in God ere long be such a course 
shall be taken as henceforth your honour shall not hear so much of 
the name of the Burkes. 

" Since my coming to this country now I have repaired this castle 
called Cloonagashel, and another castle in Carra called Gissaden, 
where I have placed a ward, and had masons and workmen ready to 
have gone in hand with the building up of Castlebarry as the only 
place to settle a garrison in, whereby to divide the Burkes and Clan- 
donnells for ever. But this extreme wet weather coming on so sud- 
denly, I was forced to foi'bear it till March next. 

" After the fine of 2000 marks is taken, which the soldiers are now 
collecting, I will go to Galway for Sessions, and thence to Dublin 
about my accounts." 

By the 28th September 1000 cows had been paid towards the fine, 
valued at one mark apiece. 

The final conditions of peace were delivered to the Bourkes at 
Cahernamart on the 6th, and were accepted by them on the 8th 
September at Aghagower, being as follows : — 

That every principal man, as the Devil's Hook's son, Edmund 
MacRickard en Erin, O'Malley, and Ulick Burke of Erris, with the 
rest, shall in person submit themselves to Her Majesty before us, 
before they be received into mercy. 

That every principal man have a protection alone for himself and 
his company by particular name. 

That 1500 cows be presently answered before the forces be dis- 

That the Joys be wholly left to deal for themselves, and not be 
received upon the peace concluded with the Burkes. 

That the O'Harts, O'Dowds, and all strangers, be presently sun- 


dered from tlie Buikes, and have several protections by themselves 
to repair to their own dwellings. 

That several pledges lie for every sept, and not any sept to depend 
upon another sept, but all upon Her Majesty only. 

That all challenges after six months be made good to any of Her 
Majesty's good subjects which have grown since Michaelmas 1588. 

The terms were easy but were enforced. The last clause was not 
ignored, though details of effect do not appear. Sir Richard after 
this appears engaged in cutting down exorbitant claims. 

Edmund and Tibbot Burke, and the Blind Abbot, and Tirlagh Roe, 
and Felim MacDonnell are recorded to have submitted personally. 
Richard, the Devil's Hook's son, who " challenged a special reputa- 
tion in that he bad never come in before any English officer," fled to 
Ulster with some other Bourkes. The affair was wound up by the 
order of the Lord Deputy and Council, on the 20th February 1593, 
for a general pardon of all persons in the county of Mayo, except 
Theobald MacWalter Kittagh Bourke, Richard Bourke M'Doyll 
O'Coran, Edmund duffe MacJordan, and Crobar gar, and except any 
in prison or on bail to appear, provided they appeared within one 
year at a General Sessions in the county, and sought the benefit 
of the pardon, paying only 6d., that it might be known to whom the 
pardon extended. Accordingly the records show long lists of pardons 
from the 7th to 11th March. 

Theobald MacRicaird an larainn, better known as Tibbot na Long, 
so named because he became to some extent a sea captain, made use 
of and owned a ship and went afloat himself, entered into the history 
of Mayo at Aghagower, and thereafter played a great part, being the 
most influential man of the Sliocht Ulick after the death of his brother 
Edmund, and was generally on the queen's side in the rebellions. 
His rise marks the decay of the tribal system and the growth of the 
civil. His position was due to possession of property. Several of 
Sliocht Ulick were his seniors, and under the old conditions would 
have been leaders. But his possessions and good abilities made 
him a man of great importance. He was brought up under Sir Geoige 
Bingham, and spoke and wrote English. He married Meadhbh, called 
Maud in English, sister of Donogh O'Conor Sligo. His inheritance 
was estimated at 40 quarters in Oarra and Gallen and the Owles. 

It does not appear why Edmund MacJordan and the Crobar gar, or 
Short Woodcock, who was Richard, son of Ulick, son of David Ban 
Bourke, were excepted. 

Theobald MacWalter Kittagh was not concerned in the rebellion. 
He had been prosecuted by his uncles, Richard and Edmund Bourke, 
and condemned in sessions. Sir Richard reprieved him, and pro- 
cured a pardon. Hearing of the sessions to be held in Mayo, he 

FROM 1590 TO 1595. 253 

went into the Pale, and was arrested at Athlone on the day the 
sessions broke up in Mayo. He could not have fulfilled, and did not 
mean to fulfil, the provisos of the pardon. To have effect, a pardon 
had to be brought to the sessions and pleaded. While he was thus 
confined at Athlone, Sir Richard applied to the Lord Deputy for a 
new pardon, and allowed his wife to visit him, who was supposed to 
have conveyed a file to him, whereby he and other prisoners, pledges, 
escaped a few days before the 28th September, namely, Edmvmd 
Bourke of Tirawley, Henry Keogh MacMorris, Dermot O'Conor, Rory 
MacFelim Boy O'Conor. 

He fled to O'Donnell, under whose protection he lived in future 
with other Mayo and Connaught outlaws. 

The effect of these petty revolts and invasions appears in a state- 
ment of the quantity of land allowed for in collection of the composi- 
tion rent up to Michaelmas 1592 as waste and uninhabited : In Mayo, 
392 quarters ; in lar Connaught, 44 quarters ; in Sligo and Bally- 
mote, 264 quarters ; in Maughery Connaught, i.e. central Roscom- 
mon, 182 quarters; in Clanricard, 8 quarters; in Thomond, 10 

The receipts of the year were £2700 out of £3164. 

Captain John Bingham restored Castlebar in the spring or summer 
of 1593. 

Early in May the Governor arrested Tibbot na Long, upon infor- 
mation that Tibbot had written a letter to Brian Og O'Rourk, offei'ing 
to raise Mayo men for joint action with the chiefs of Ulster, if Brian 
could keep the war up for a month. 

Grace O'Malley went to England in June, and was about the Court 
during July and August, a visit which has given rise to well-known 
legends. She sought the release of her son Tibbot and her brother 
Donnell na Pipee, who had been ai-rested on a charge of being con- 
cerned in murdering some soldiers ; the succession of her sons to their 
father's lands ; permission for them and Walter and John, grandsons 
of Walter Fada Bourke, to sui^render their lands and receive them 
back by grant under letters-patent ; and maintenance for herself. 

Reference to Ireland occupied some time, but in the end she re- 
turned to Ireland with a letter from the queen to Sir R. Bingham 
which procured Tibbot's release. The result of her petition appears 
in a draft of a letter from the queen to Sir Richard, dated 6th Sep- 
tember ,i to this effect : — 

Sir Richard has given no just cause of complaint to Sir Murrough 
O'Flaherty, Grany ne Maly, and Robuck French, who have to come to 
the Court with suits and complaints. 

The Queen appx'oves of the favour which Sir Richard has shown to 
1 Hist. MSS. Comm. Cal. MSS. of Marquis of Salisbury, pt. iv. p. 368. 


her eldest sou Morogh, who had been dutiful to the Queen when his 
mother preyed him with her galleys, and tlesires him to continue to 
favour him. 

" But the second son Tibbott Burk, one that hath been brought 
up civilly with your brother and can speak English, is by you justly 
detained, because he hath been accused to have written a letter to 
Bryan O'Kork, the late traitor's son, though it cannot be fully proved, 
but is by him utterly denied ; and for her brother Donald, he hath 
been imprisoned 7 months past, being chai'ged to have been in com- 
pany of certain that killed some soldiers in a ward." 

As Bingham thinks they may be released upon bonds for good be- 
haviour, the queen is content, and the old woman has departed with 
great thankfulness. For pity of this aged woman, having no title to 
any livelihood or portion of her husband's lands, she desires Sir Richard 
to deal with her sons, in the queen's name, to yield her some main- 
tenance for the rest of her old years. She has confessed her ill usage 
of her son who served the queen, and promises by oath to continue 
most dutiful. 

Her answers to a set of questions put regarding her petition throw 
light on the social condition of chieftain families which is instructive 
as coming from one of that class who was free of any tinge of Eng- 
lish culture. She tells us that "among the Irishry the widow of a 
chieftain never got any thirds. His rent was uncertain, for the most 
part extorted." " "Woman is entitled only to her first dowry, for which 
her husband has to give security for restitution. Chieftains usually 
die in debt, and husbands now and then divorce their wives on pre- 
contracts, or even put their wives away without any lawful proceed- 
ing and bring in others." 

The answers make clear, what could be inferred from other facts, 
that Edmund and Walter, sons of Sir Richard, were illegitimate. 
This in an Irish tribe mattered nothing. Edmund was certainly the 
principal man of the Sliocht Ulick after the Blind Abbot was dis- 
abled, and Avould, but for the Indenture of Composition and the 
introduction of English law, have become MacWilliam if he lived 
long enough. 

Walter, son of Tibbot Reagh, son of Walter Fada Bovn-ke, who 
was in England with her, returned in September and joined the 
rebels in Ulster. 

At the end of September 1593 the Governor was leading a strong 
force against Maguire. On the night of Thursday before the 30th 
September, Richard Bourke passed Sligo on his way to Mayo with 
160 men detached from Maguire's force, who soon became 300. He 
burnt a town in O'Hara's country and carried off some cattle. This 
changed the Governor's plans. He sent off a strong party to operate 

FROM 1590 TO 1595. 255 

against Maguire, and stayed himself to watch the MacDermots, 
O'Rourk, and Feiiagh MacHugh O' Byrne, who had come into Ros- 
common from Leinster. The English of Roscommon soon destroyed 
all O'Byrne's force except himself and four or five others. 

The Governor sent after Richard Bourke his brother John, Theobald 
Dillon, and Captain Henry Strete, who intercepted him and killed sixty 
of his men. After that, David an Ry Bourke and the Bourkes of 
Tirawley attacked him with their own forces and burnt sixty more in a 
house. Richard Bourke went into Erris, where he was joined by his 
kinsmen under Ulick Bourke of Erris, the principal man of his sept. 
Captain Clarke, with two bands of Irish soldiers raised by the Governor, 
but commanded and officered by Englishmen, was sent after him, and 
pursued him in boats among the islands. He surprised the rebels in 
Inishkea, about 120 in all, of whom 80 were able men. Richard and 
half-a-dozen escaped in a boat. The rest, finding escape impossible, 
stood manfully to it. All were killed or droAvned. Captain Clarke lost 
but three or four killed and four wounded. Before this action had 
finished Richard's attempt, Tibbot na Long had been released, and 
had gone to help in hunting down his rebellious kinsmen. Some thirty 
heads of rebel Bourkes and their followers were sent to the Governor 
at Cloonagashel. All was over by the middle of November. 

In April 1595 Tibbot sent a list of the Bourkes whom he had him- 
self slain, as evidence of his loyalty and justification of his applica- 
tion for a pension, namely, John MacMeyler of Erris and his three 
sons, John Og, Ulick, Antony ; Thomas Ballagh and his brother 
David ; Richard MacUlick and his brother Walter ; Richard ; The- 
bault Boy ; Thebault MacThomas Duff and his brother Edmond Boy 
and his four sons. 

David an Ry had twelve months before broken out of Athlone 
Castle, where he lay condemned to death for some offence, and had 
failed to obtain any conditions from the Governor until he should 
do some special service as assurance to the State of his fidelity. 
He was now admitted to terms. 

Mayo was in peace until after the surrender of Sligo Castle to 
O'Donnell in June 1595. No remarkable events are recorded. Small 
garrisons were kept in the castles of Cloonagashel, Castlebar, and 
Belleek, which had been forfeited by the attainder of Theobald Mac- 
Walter Kittagh. 



CoxxAUGHT was in peace in the beginning of 1595. O'Donnell made 
small raids into Roscommon in March and April, but was driven out 
quickly by the Governor, who reported after the second raid that 
he could not resist the Ulster invasions with the risings out of 
the country, and must have a force of English. The Government, 
now much pressed by Ulster affairs, could not keep O'Donnell em- 
ployed or give support to Connaught. Thus O'Donnell gained power 
and reputation, and the loyalty of Connaught was proportionately 

At this time Sir Richard's cousin. Captain George Bingham, was 
stationed in Sligo Castle with his company, in which Ulick, son of 
Redmond na Scuab, son of the first Earl of Clanricard, served as 
ensign with twenty Clanricard men. On the 3rd June, when Captain 
Bingham sat writing in a room of the castle, Ulick Burke and his 
men fell on him and murdered him and seven English gentlemen. 
They wounded the sheriff, Nicholas Martin, and kept him and his 
brother and the wife of one of them as prisoners, probably with a 
view to sale for money or terms, as the Martins were nephews of 
Sir Richard. The design failed if it was entertained. Sir Richard 
seized Ulick's mother and two brothers. 

According to O'Clery, who was a contemporary and should have 
good information, this treacherous murder was premeditated and 
committed with an intention of joining O'Donnell. The murderers 
were marked men. One of them, Taylor, was taken prisoner in 
Dunboy Castle and was hanged in Cork. Ulick and the others lost 
their lives in the course of the wars. 

As the Governor could get no help from the Lord Deputy, he w-ent 
to Sligo with such force as he could collect — only about 300 men — 
arriving about the 18th June, at the same time as O'Donnell, who 
came with 300 horse and 500 foot. The Burke prisoners were handed 
over to O'Donnell in exchange for the Martins. The castle was given 
up to O'Donnell by Ulick Burke. The retreat of the Governor un- 
molested by O'Donnell's great force marks the difference of quality. 
He cannot have had more than 100 foot and 50 horse of the garrison, 
well drilled and ai-med, most of them Englishmen. The rest must 


have been recruits of the new companies or some rising out from 
Galway. But they were not enough for an attempt to take the 
castle or to attack O'Donnell. 

This treachery was a great blow to the defence of Con naught, as it 
laid open to O'Donnell the best passage to and from the west. Sir 
Richard asked for six companies and fifty horse, English, to enable 
him to recover Sligo and take Ballyshannon from O'Donnell, and so 
prevent incursions. The Lord Deputy, Sir William Russell, pressed 
by Tyrone and Ulster, could send him only a few English soldiers. 

By the middle of July Richard Bourke and the other fugitive 
Bourkes, O'Conors, and MacDermots had returned to their countries, 
and it was evident that the government could not protect loyal men 
in those parts. Most of the gentlemen of Mayo and Sligo had been 
forced to join the rebels, and the O'Conors of Sligo and the MacDermots 
were out. In August 1400 rebels were out in Connaught besides 
those from Ulster. The governor believed that the earls and others 
who were still loyal would remain so if the queen's army were strong. 
But the new English companies Avere much wasted already. 

In August the government held in Sligo only Ballymote, which 
maintained itself. The three Mayo garrisons were supplied at great 
expense. Seven hundred rebels were out in Tirawley, Erris, the 
Owles, Carra, and Gallen. The castle on Inisbofin leased to Captain 
Fildew had been betrayed to the rebels. 

A number of hostages confined in the castle of Galway tried to 
escape one day in August, excited thereto by drink, according to the 
Four Masters, but probably also by the abandonment of their countries 
by the government. They svicceeded in breaking prison in the early 
part of an August night, when people were at supper and the gates of 
the town not yet closed. The bridge was secured before they could 
cross it, and they had to take to the river. Some were killed and 
the rest captured and hanged. Among those hanged were Edmund 
MacRichard an larainn, Meyler, son of Theobald, son of Walter 
Fada, Hubert Bourke, son of a MacDavid, two O'Flahertys, and 
two O'Conors. 

After the middle of August O'Donnell made a sudden raid into 
Connaught. He captured Castlemore, and made it over to MacCostello, 
who joined him. Thence he went into the barony of Dunmore, where 
he took the castle of Turlach Mochain. He hoped that Lord Clan- 
ricard would join him, but that lord went with thirty horse to join 
Sir R. Bingham, who hurried from Dublin to Connaught and went 
towards O'Donnell, who turned back and made his way homewards 
through Mayo. The governor made all the haste he could to inter- 
cept him at Ballysadare, but O'Donnell got over three or four hours 
ahead of him and escaped into Glencar, where it was useless to follow 



him. O'Domiell did no harm on this raid beyond the capture of the 
two castles and the useless mischief of burning a few houses in Dun- 
more. The cattle of the country were driven away before him owing 
to the delay at Castlemore, and he had to escape with all speed when 
the country did not join him and the governor came down. 

The governor had not enough men or supplies or ammunition to 
besiege and take Sligo Castle. On the way l)ack he took Collooney 
Castle, and put a gai-rison in it, and then distributed his men in 
frontier garrisons to act on the defensive, as they were worn out by 
the long marches. The companies were wasting daily from sickness. 
New-comers to Ireland fell sick in numbers from what was known 
as the country sickness, due to the great damp and exposure on 
service. Ammunition was so sparingly supplied that there was no 
more than enough for one day's fight at Sligo. Two new English 
companies had been promised him, whose coming would enable him 
to undertake active operations. 

Meanwhile Tyrone was making offers of submission, and the queen 
was eager to end the war. Bingham was ordered to abstain from 
offensive operations and to enter on a course for pacification. 

When these orders arrived, Theobald MacWalter Kittagh was 
besieging Belleek Castle, and it was necessary to relieve it. 

Captain Fowle, who had been absent from his duty as provost- 
marshal for five years and had lately returned from England, was 
sent to relieve Belleek, and to treat with the rebels as a person likely 
to be acceptable to them. Sir Richard remained at Tulsk to treat 
with O'Conors and MacDermots who had expressed some willingness 
to do so. During this time and afterwards the governors of Connaught 
received from many persons in the districts abandoned to the rebels 
intimation of their readiness to submit if the queen would protect 

Captain Fowle set out from Castlebar on the 3rd October, accom- 
panied by Captains J. Bingham, Mynce, and Dillon. In a pass not 
far from Castlebar tlie rebels attacked the baggage, and slew^ Captain 
Fowle and three or four soldiers, deserted by the baggage guard. 
When the party arrived in Tirawley they learnt that the guard of 
Belleek had surrendered the castle on terms of life and liberty. 

As the rebels showed no disposition to treat, the force retired next 
day by another way. The rebels — about 500 of the country and 200 
Scots — skirmished for six hours until the soldiers had shot away their 
bullets and were reduced to stones and buttons, when they came closer 
and killed and wounded many with arrows. The new English soldiers 
were so unskilled in use of their weapons that the captains gave their 
bullets and powder to the Irish shots, who did best on that day. The 
losses were Captain Mynce, Lieutenant Tuite, and about 20 soldiers 


killed and many wounded on the English side, and on the other side 
about 80 reported killed. The rebels did not press their attacks to 
close quarters, and did not molest the party again. 

The want of ammunition was very great. The stock was so low 
that the officers were constantly calling for it. The English soldiers 
sent to Ireland were untrained and therefore not much good at first, 
and died in numbers from sickness. There is much evidence of the 
unhealthiness of the climate for new-comers exposed to the hardships 
of Irish life. Those who survived the first year or so seem to have 
done well afterwards. The eight companies sent against the Bourkes, 
supposed to be each 100 strong, were in fact only 400 men in all. 

A truce until January was made with O'Neill and O'Donnell in 
October. Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim, and North Roscommon were left in 
the hands of the rebels, save the castles occupied by garrisons. Sligo 
bad been reoccupied, but not rebuilt, since O'Donnell broke down the 
castle and abbey in October. 

The effect of withdrawal of the queen's power was that from the 
end of June the semblance of law and order disappeared. Those who 
had been the original rebels and those who joined them, and those 
who were in a position to gather armed men, went about the country 
living upon the farmers, robbing whom they pleased, provided he was 
weaker than they, under no restraint but the fear of coming into 
collision with one of greater power. Before eighteen months were over, 
Mayo and the countries in like conditions were reduced to extreme 
poverty and misery by this revival of the ancient customs. In addition 
to the waste and suffering caused by the great men resorting to their 
old practices, the country had to bear a heavy burden in the visits of 
O'Donnell with considerable foreign forces. Yet to most of the great 
men this state was detestable ; all who had not too deeply committed 
themselves were ready to submit, and did submit, as soon as the queen's 
forces relieved them from the foreign oppressors, who made the insig- 
nificant local rebels formidable. 

Sir Richard Bingham's government practically ended in September 
as far as North Connaught was concerned, and by degrees, under 
various pretexts, he was superseded as regards the rest. 

When Mayo and Sligo were overrun by rebels from Ulster and the 
country obliged to join them for want of the protection of the State, 
Sir Richard's enemies accused him of having driven the country into 
rebellion by oppression and by extorting lands and goods from the 
people for himself and his relations. These enemies were, in his 
opinion, Theobald Dillon, Anthony Brabazon, Malbie, Taaffe, and 
Justice Dillon, whose enmity he incurred by restraining their corrupt 
practices in acquiring lands. 

Sir Richard never owned a foot of land in Ireland. He had yearly 


leases of the lands attached to the Castle of Athlone and of the 
Abbey of Boyle, at full rents of .£54 and £16, given in virtue of official 
position. Sir George, as Sherifif of Sligo, had a similar lease of 
Ballymote. Captain John Bingham bought the leases which had 
been given to Bryan Fitzwilliam. None of his other relations 
acquired any land. 

Sir William Russell went to Galway early in November, in order 
to investigate these allegations and to treat for peace with the 
Connaught rebels — that is, with the Bourkes, who were the only 
body to be satisfied. He sent Sir Geoflfrey Fenton, Bingham's bitter 
enemy, ahead to treat and get up the complaints, and ordered Sir 
Richard to remain at Athlone. His endeavour to get complaints 
from the rebels or make a peace was a failure, though he was at 
Galway for a month. Only Dermot O'Conor of Roscommon lodged a 
statement. One Lennan, an Irishman of the Co. Mayo, put in a 
book, and Anthony Brabazon put one in at Loughrea, which was 
supposed to come from the Bourkes. 

The Mayo complaints alone are within the scope of this work. All 
have been dealt with at length in the Journal of the Galway Arch, 
and Hist. Society, vol. iv. It is enough to say that these complaints 
went over the same ground as the inquiry of 1589, and brought in 
many new matters. Actions attributed to Sir George and to Captain 
John Bingham and to subordinate officers were included. Lennan 
did not allege that he suffered wrong himself. 

Sir W. Russell treated Sir R. Bingham as Sir W. Fitz William had 
treated him. The charges were held back as long as possible. Sir 
Richard pressed for trial, which was put off as no evidence could be 
got. The queen's government interfered, and made orders for the 

Sir W. Russell's successor, Lord Burgh, seems to have acted fairly 
in the matter, which was now being handled by the queen's govern- 
ment. He and his council repoi^ted that Sir Richard was not to 
blame for delay ; that they did not believe that these books had been 
framed by the rebels or even seen by them, but by Lennan and 
others, who preferred them secretly. 

Sir John Norris and Sir Geoffrey Fenton had been appointed 
commissionei'S for the trial, being already employed in treating with 
the rebels. 

Sir John was an enemy of Sir Richard, and had applied for the 
governorship for his brother Thomas in November, as soon as Sir 
Richard should be removed. Sir Geoffrey was an old enemy. These 
put off trial, unable to find evidence. 

In September the queen ordered that the trial be at Athlone, and 
added Sir Robert Gardener as a commissioner, and that Lord Clanri- 


card and others should be summoned to hear the trial, but not as 
judges therein. This appointment of Gardener gave great offence to 
Norris and Fenton. 

The proceedings ended suddenly. Sir Richard Avas in Dublin, 
preparing to start for Athlone so as to arrive at the same time as 
Sir Robert Gardener, and was informed on the 23rd September of 
the arrangements made for his reception there. Sir John Norris had 
made his brother, Sir Thomas Norris, governor of Connaught ; Sir 
Richard was not to live in the Castle of Athlone, which he held by 
lease ; he must live five or six miles from Athlone ; he was not to 
have any of his own horsemen or footmen for his protection. 

Sir J. Norris had served long in Ireland, and knew the consequences 
of his actions. These arrangements admit of only one interpretation, 
that it was intended that Sir Richard should be taken prisoner by the 
rebels or murdered. Sir John cannot have intended capture, because 
that would have ruined his credit with the queen, who would have 
been forced to buy release by large concessions to the rebels. They 
would gain nothing by murder, but would rather exasperate the 
queen. On the other hand, Sir John and his English confederates 
would have settled all questions in their own favour by his murder, 
and could have charged it on rebels or on unknown persons. 

Sir Richard embarked for England that evening. On arrival in 
London he was treated as a fugitive from justice, suspended from 
office, and imprisoned. The trvith becoming known, he was released 
and ordered to go to Ireland for trial in charge of Sir Conyers 
Clifford, who was appointed governor of Connaught. Clifford had to 
leave him ill at Chester. Bingham embarked in a ship which was 
driven back by storm, and had a bad relapse. He was still at Beau- 
maris in March 1597. In the meantime the queen had ordered the 
trial to be before the whole council in Dublin. The course of trial is 
not in the records, but he was in London in July, when he wrote a 
letter which shows that he had been acquitted. 

He governed Connaught during twelve years, which covered a 
most difficult time. In his careful hands the small revenues of 
Connaught paid the cost of administration, and the country was free 
from the oppression of the cess, except at the hands of the Lords 

The confidence and support of the Irish population were gained 
in all but a few parts of the province, such as Leitrim, where the 
government would not let him act until O'Rourk's banishment, 
when the rest of that clan came in and submitted and gave no more 

The risings originated in Mayo with the Sliocht Ulick, and were 
insignificant until the actions of the Lords Deputy fostered their 


growth. Rebellion in July 1595 was not an original rising, but due 
to outside causes, and absence of force in the hands of the State to 
preserve the peace. With few exceptions the people then and after- 
wards sought the restoration of government. 

Histoiians have imputed cruelty and oppression ; authentic records 
of the day show humanity, uprightness, and justice. The power of 
the Lord Deputy was used twice in vain to procure his conviction 
upon charges of cruelty, harshness, and oppression, which were 
framed by English officers and English settlers in Connaught ; and 
twice the endeavour was brought to naught by the impossibility of 
finding evidence of wrong done by him or by his relations or subor- 
dinates. Not only was he upright in his own dealings, but he kept 
his subordinates strictly within their duties. 


o'donnell's domination and the final peace. 

The conduct of operations in Connaught was taken out of Sir Richard's 
hands in September 1595, and by degrees he was left to carry on only 
routine business. Sir G. Fenton was sent to deal with the rebels, to 
induce them to meet the Lord Deputy at Galway to treat for peace. 
Sir W. Russell was at Galway for a month up to the 11th December, 
endeavouring to make a peace and to get complaints against Sir R. 
Bingham, who was forbidden to accompany him. 

On the 16th November Sir Richard made an accurate forecast — 
" The Burkes upon this offer of peace will make a MacWilliam by all 
likelihood." Meanwhile they burnt the country round Tulsk, and 
even the village. The situation was nearly all they wanted. The 
Lord Deputy was suing for peace, and left to the rebels all the country 
outside the walls of a few castles held by garrisons. 

Anthony Brabazon and Theobald Dillon were sent to treat. At 
Brees Castle they met Richard Bourke, Theobald Bovuke, Mac- 
Jordan, the MacDonnells and the rest, who demanded only the 
removal of all the Binghams, and their kinsmen and officers. They 
refused to go to Galway, as O'Donnell had required them to meet 
him at Moyne in Tirawley. The Lord Deputy sent Brabazon again 
to meet O'Donnell, who said that no peace should be made until he 
himself was satisfied, and insisted on having Ballymote and all Sligo 
made over to him as his inheritance. 

Brabazon was sent out yet again, and brought to Sir W. Russell 
at Loughrea, on the 7th December, a Book of Complaints alleged 
to have been made up by the Bourkes. This and some more com- 
plaints were all that came of this journey of the Lord Deputy and 
his council. 

On the 25th December Sir Richard reported that the wards of 
Tulsk, the Boyle, Ballymote, Collooney, Sligo, Castlebar, and Cloona- 
gashel, were likely to be lost for want of relief, and that the sons of 
Dualtagh O'Conor, first cousin of Hugh O'Conor Don, were threaten- 
ing Athlone by water. 

O'Donnell now came to Connaught to restore the abolished chief- 
tainships, and arrived at Kilmaine immediately before Christmas 
to inaugurate a MacWilliam. MacJordan, MacCostello, MacMaurice, 



O'Malley, MacDonnell Ciallowglass, and all the nobles of the country 
assembled there. The competitors for the name of MacWilliam weie 
William Bourke of Shrule, the senior of all ; Edmund of Cong ; John, 
son of Richard, son of John of the Termon ; Richard, son of Deman an 
Chorrain ; Theobald na Long ; David an Fraoch, and Oliver, sons of 
Sir John ; and Theobald, son of Walter Kittagh. As in the case of 
the Blind Abbot, the place of inaugui'ation was Rausakeera. The 
proceedings are thus described in O'Clery's " Life of Hugh Roe 
O'Donnell," Murphy's edition, p. Ill : — " When all these nobles 
had assembled, as we have said, to Hugh O'Donnell in the same 
place, Shane Oge O'Doherty formed (as he was ordered to do), four 
lines of troops back to back around the liss, and the chiefs all about. 
Eighteen hundred of his soldiers and hirelings and mercenaries 
round the royal rath, were the first body ; O'Doherty himself and 
Tadhg Oge O'Boyle with the infantry of Tyrconnell outside them, 
in the second circle ; the three MacSwineys with their gallowglasses 
outside them ; the men of Connaught with their party outside them 
all ; O'Donnell himself with his chiefs and nobles in a close circle 
on the summit of the rath, and no one of the nobles or gentlemen 
was allowed to go into his presence in the rath but whomsoever he 
commanded to be called to him at the time. He proceeded then to 
consider and forecast with the chiefs who were with him what to do 
to the nobles in reference to the title for which they were in conten- 
tion and dispute. He called to him the barons and chiefs of the 
territory in their order to ask them which of the nobles he should 
appoint to the chieftaincy of the district. MacMaurice, MacDonnell, 
and O'Malley said with one voice that it was right that the senior 
William Burke should be styled chief, as their custom was to 
appoint the elder in preference to the younger. MacCostello and 
MacJordan said it was right that Theobald, son of Walter Ciotach, 
son of Oliver, should be styled chief, for he was strong and vigorous 
by day and by night at home and abroad, whether he had few or 
had many with him. 

" When they had given their opinion to O'Donnell, he resolved in 
the end to confer the chieftainship of the territory on Theobald, son 
of Walter Ciotach, and he ordered the son of Theobald [MacTibbot] 
to proclaim him MacWilliam. That was done to him, for he was 
called by the name in presence of the forces publicly, though there 
were others of the tribe older in years and better qualified than he. 
Yet it was he that had come first to him after his expulsion and 
banishment from his teriitory, and he had promised to restore him 
to his inheritance if he could." 

Edmund, John, and Oliver were carried away to Tirconnell as 
prisonei-s, and pledges were taken from other competitors and from 

o'donnell's domination and the final teace. 265 

MacDonnell. After celebrating Christmas, O'Donnell went to the 
Bree in Clanmorris, and left Connaught on the 15th January to meet 
the commissioners sent to treat for peace with him and O'Neill. 
Before leaving he appointed an O'Dowda, an O'Kelly, a MacUermot, 
two MacDonoghs, and an O'Hara Reagh. 

Theobald cannot be held to have continued the line of MacWilliams 
by bearing the name without the authority. Even his own clan of 
Tirawley turned against him when they could do so safely. Hence- 
foi'th he lived in Mayo only as a dependent of O'Donnell, protected 
by men supplied by O'Donnell. 

The appointment was an unwise act, which weakened O'Donnell's 
influence in Mayo by giving offence to every family of the Bourkes, 
whose rights and feelings were openly disregarded. William of 
Shrule might not have accepted the dangerous eminence. He was 
on the queen's side as long as possible on all occasions, and for that 
reason might not have been generally acceptable ; but any of those 
who were in the right line of succession as sons of a Mac William, 
being chosen by the tribe, would have got, if not universal support, at 
least a friendly neutrality on almost all sides, and the active support 
of all who sought the restoration of the old practices. Hitherto the 
old customs were the alternative to the queen's government. Now 
the choice was between the queen's government and the old customs 
subject to the very heavy burden of O'Donnell's domination. 

Those who had been active to restore the name of MacWilliam 
designed to secure a chieftain of their own choice and independence 
of restraint, and to preserve the advantages of the composition. It 
was no part of their design that a MacWilliam should be imposed 
upon them, and that they should subject themselves to O'Donnell's 
cess and oppression. Yet this was what they got by the new Mac- 
Williamship. Henceforth we find the Mayo gentlemen ever ready 
to submit to the queen's government. If some had disliked her 
government, they had occasion to dislike O'Donnell's oppression 
more. The same feelings seem to have gi-own all over Connaught, 
which gave the Ulster chieftains very little help in their wars. They 
had a few bands of Connaughtmen under unpardonable rebels whom 
they had to support, but no independent help from Connaught chief- 
tains, no co-operation. 

The truce with Ulster was extended for two months, and was 
ignored in Connaught, where only Thomond and a part of Clanricard 
remained obedient. O'Donnell was sending Scots and Ulstermen 
into Connaught, where the rebels were estimated to be 3640 foot and 
392 horse, to whom the governor could oppose only 471 foot and 86 
horse. By April his eight companies of foot, the whole force of foot 
in Connaught, were but 167 pikes and 246 shot, but 35 of the shot 


were unserviceable. At the end of the month the garrisons were 
withdrawn from Mayo. 

The Lord Deputy sent Lord Clanricard, A. Brabazon, and James 
Darcy to Mayo to treat for peace. On the borders of the county 
they were met by Tibbot, MacWilliam, who was accompanied by 
O'Donnell's brother with 400 men, Redmond Bvirke's sons with 200 
men, and the O'Kellys. He said he could not agree to be severed 
from O'Neill and O'Donnell. A treacherous trap was laid for the 
commissioners, who had to retire for want of supplies. At this time 
the governor was receiving from some of the best of the Bourkes, 
and of all the other septs, secret offers of their services if sufficient 
force were set on foot to expel the Ulstermen. 

At the end of April peace was made with Ulster. The Loid 
General Sir John Korris and Sir G. Fenton were sent into Con- 
naught as commissioners for peace by the queen's orders, with a 
very large force. 

According to the returns, Sir John had in Connaught from the 1st 
May to the 30th Septembei-, 2000 foot and 600 horse, with which 
he took no action against the rebels, beyond killing 200 and taking 
4000 cows, according to his own account, in petty raids and skir- 
mishes in Galway and Roscommon. The time was wasted in talk. 
The pacification of Connaught depended on O'Donnell, who was 
arranging to carry on the war if he could get help from the King 
of Spain. 

The Connaught rebels, to whom the commissioners sent word of 
their coming, replied that they were bound not to make peace with- 
out O'Donnell's consent, and so gained time until O'Donnell came on 
20th June. They assembled their forces in the north of Roscommon 
early in June. The commissioners having arrived at Athlone on the 
fith June, moved their forces to Boyle, and, finding no rebels there, 
moved to Moyne and Kinlough in Mayo. O'Donnell came and 
encamped on the north side of the river Robe, near Ballinrobe, 
accompanied by MacWilliam and the other chieftains who depended 
on him. 

Warham St. Leger and A. Brabazon were sent to Ballinrobe to 
treat with O'Donnell and MacWilliam. After three or four days' 
deliberation, Theobald accepted the articles tendered to him and 
signed them ; then, as he was about to hand them to the envoys, he 
suddenly blotted out his name and entered his amendments of the 
most material articles, and sent the envoys back with a statement of 
his demands. The articles are not in the record. His demands 
were : — 

1. To have the name of MacWilliam, with the lands and pre- 
eminences, by grant from the queen. 


2. To have the composition lessened with the whole province, and 
to have for himself the spiritual and temporal lands. 

3. Favour and mercy for O'Kelly and his other friends. 

4. That if these demands were not accepted, the matter should be 
referred to the decision of the Earl of Tirone. 

The commissioners declared the first demand inadmissible, because 
he demanded to have what he had seized by rebellion, and also 
because, at the composition, the lands and seigniory of Mac William 
had been divided by consent of the province, and they could not be 
taken from the owners, of whom some kept loyal and others had 
submitted only to Tibbot's superior force ; the second as against the 
queen's interest, and because the people were content with the com- 
position if it were kept ; the fourth, because it made Tirone a judge 
between the queen and her rebels. 

As O'Donnell concurred in these demands the treaty fell through. 
He refused to give the pledges he had already promised, unless a 
settlement was made with the Connaughtmen. O'Donnell probably 
had no intention of making a peace except on his own terms. The 
King of Spain was feeding the Irish with hopes at this time, and 
sending small help by a few ships, which came in May and about the 
1st July. 

The break occurred on the 25th June. The commissioners allowed 
fifteen days more time for consideration. After that, as the army 
was weakened, and in want of supplies and ammunition and carriage, 
they gave time to the 1st of Avigust at the request of the rebels, and 
withdrew, leaving a garrison in Cong, and in some places in Galway. 
They left Cong immediately after the 28th June. While in Mayo 
they took the castle of Aghalahard. This was all they did. They 
retreated in face of O'Donnell, disguising their retreat by the 
pretence of giving the rebels time. 

After this, Theobald's position was so weak that he would have 
been driven out or killed but for help given him by O'Donnell. By 
the end of November all the Connaught rebels had agreed to terms 
except Theobald and the few who adhered to him. During this 
summer O'Donnell entrapped Tibbot na Long, and carried him off to 
Ulster, where he was kept for some time, but the particulars of the 
affair do not appear. He returned to Connaught in February 1597. 

Sir Richard Bingham having been removed from the government 
of Connaught, Sir Conyers Clifford was appointed in his place, and 
assumed the office in Dublin early in January 1597. 

O'Donnell collected a large force, and started for Galway in the 
second week of January. He passed through Costello, where Mac- 
William joined him. Athenry was taken and destroyed. Clanricard 
was plundered, the earl being surprised and unable to collect his 


foi'ces. The Earl of Thomond was on the coast driving off a party of 
O'Malleys, who had come by sea to rob his country, and arrived in 
Chinricard only after O'Donnell had got away with his plunder. 

Clifford came to Connaught in February with about twelve hundred 
foot and two hundred horse, and acted vigorously. He relieved the 
garrisons and went into Mayo, where he captured John MacMorris, 
an adherent of MacWilliam, in Brees Castle. Then, his men being 
worn out after living on beef and water for fifteen days, and his 
ammunition being spent, he disposed his men in garrisons in Mayo 
and Sligo. Sligo Castle was recovered, and held by O'Conor Sligo 
with some of Clifford's men. In a skirmish at Bally sadare, Richard, 
son of William, son of Sir Richard Bourke, was killed. 

O'Donnell, being unable to keep his forces together, had gone away, 
leaving Niall Garve and some soldiers to uphold MacWilliam. These 
went into Tirawley, where they captured Oliver, son of Sir Richard 
Bourke, and broke down David an Fraoch's house of Castlereagh. 

By the end of May Clifford had hunted MacWilliam out of Con- 
naught, rescuing his pledges of the Bourkes, Clan Jonyns, and Clan 
Maurices. O'Neill and O'Donnell wanted Clifford to stay operations 
for negotiations, but Clifford, like Bingham, saw no reason to stay 
his action because the enemy disliked it. Having shown his power 
to protect from O'Donnell he obtained submission all round. By his 
brother-in-law O'Conor Sligo's mediation, Tibbot na Long came to 
terms and offered to serve the queen, handing in a statement of his 
demands at Lehinch on the 24th April. 

Tibbot na Long and Richard Mac an Deman an Corrain, and the 
chief gentlemen of Mayo, met Clifford at Castlebar and made peace, 
presenting a very humble submission and petition for pardon. The 
articles of peace were signed on the 20th May. They agreed to pay 
within one year the arrears of the composition since the last collec- 
tion in Sir Richard Bingham's time, to provide the rising out, to 
receive the sheriff and other officers, to sue for their pardons, which 
Sir C. Clifford engaged that the government should grant, to give 
such pledges as he should require, to receive such garrisons in such 
places as he should think fit, and to provide them with beef, to 
be allowed for out of the comj)osition rent. It was signed by 
Olyverus MacShane Bourke, Olyverus MacEdmond, Thybbott Bom-ke, 
Ricard Boork alias the Devil's Hook's son, Davy in Ry Boork, 
O'Malley, named Une O'Malley, MacJordan, Edmond Evaghery, 
Thomas ny Capell. These names are taken partly from an original 
at Westport House, which must have been a duplicate in posses- 
sion of Tibbot na Long, now not entirely legible, and partly from a 
copy in the Public Record Office in London, in which the names are 
given somewhat differently, being not exact copies, or possibly copied 


from another original, in which they used a different form. It is 
certified that these signed, for brevity's sake, on behalf of all the 
other gentlemen and freeholders of the county, and that those pre- 
sent, to whom the agreement was read and explained, assented to 
and bound themselves to it. 

On the 8th June a general pai-don was given to all in Connaught, 
except Theobald Mac Walter Kittagh, Brian Og, and Teig O'Rourk, 
and Ferragh MacHugh. 

The following is the list of the pledges, who were given imme- 
diately : — 

1. Moyler Bourke — Tibbot na Long's son, for himself and his sept 

of Ulick (saving the Devil's Hook). 

2. Davy Bourke — The Devil's Hook's son, as pledge for himself 

and his followers only. 

3. Edmond O'Malley — O'Malley's son, for himself and his sept and 


4. Goree MacDonnell — Mac an Ab the chief of the Clandonnells' 

son, for self, sons, and followers. 

5. Walter MacDonnell — For the sept of Rury Og MacDonnell, 

himself, and followers. 

6. Hugh Boy MacDonnell — Mulmory MacRanell MacDonnell's 

son, for himself and his brothers. 

7. William Bourke — Davy MacMoyler, Mac Walter Fada's brother, 

for himself and his followers. 

8. Brian MacThomas Reaugh — MacJordan's pledge. 

9. Walter MacJordan — Thomas ne Capell MacJordan's son, for 

himself and followers. 

10. Colla MacDonnell — For the Clandonnells of Costello and 

Sleight Markys, Marcus MacFerry's son as pledge. 

11. Shane Boy — For the Clan Jordans of Costello. 

12. 13. MacWalber and Ricard Boy's son — Walter Fooff Mac 
Moyler's son, and Ricard Boy MacShane MacMoyler's son, as 
pledges for them and their followers. 

Clifford reported that at least 5000 were famished in Connaught, 
and that he had great difficulty in feeding his army owing to the 
wasting of the country. To this pitch it had been brought by the 
rebels and O'Donnell. 

Tibbot na Long's demands had been received by Clifford, and in 
part approved by him, but not to be confirmed to him unless he 
should do service deserving confirmation, and had been sent over to 
England for orders. On the 25th June the Privy Council of Eng- 
land expressed great satisfaction with the peace and submission of 
the Mayo septs, and directed that the pledges be treated well. On 


the same day orders were passed on Tibbot na Long's demands. The 
way they were dealt with confirms the opinion, derived from other cii'- 
cumstances, that he was now the real leader of the l^ourkes. 

" He undertook, with the aid of Her Majesty's foi-ces, to banish 
Tibbot Mac Walter, the now MacWilliam ; for reward of that service 
to have all MacWilliam's lands to be assured unto him, and in lieu 
of the name of MacWilliam to have some title to be bestowed upon 
him according to the worthiness of his service. — A style was granted, 
whereof consideration should he had ; the lands also, conditionally 
that it should bear the composition which Sir Richard Bingham had 
formerly imposed upon it. 

" That the lands in Co. Mayo taken from the possessors in Sir R. 
Bingham's time and conferred upon others may be lestored to the 
right owners. — This larcre demand was denied. 

" That the benefit of Her Majesty's letters in the behalf of his 
brotlier Moroghe ne Muyre [O'Flaherty], and the like for Donnell 
O'Mayley his mother['s brother], might be confirmed unto him if he 
would become a good subject. — Granted. 

" He demanded all the lands of such persons as were then in rebel- 
lion in Co. Mayo to be granted unto him and his heirs. — There was 
granted unto him all the rebels' lands that were of his own sept. 

" He demanded the castle and lands of Castlebai-ry. — Denied. 

" Pai-dons for sundry persons. — Granted. 

" That for seven years such as depended upon him should not be 
questioned for any harms done, — Suspended. 

" He demanded such portions of MacWilliam's seigniory as was by 
the Lord General's last parley agreed upon. — Granted. 

" A company of foot in the Queen's pay. — Granted. 

" A commission to grant protections in the Co. Mayo. — Mitigated." 

Tibbot valued his own services very highly, and the government 
was ready to give him good consideration for them, but as he could 
not fulfil his part by banishing MacWilliam the agreement fell 
through. Nevertheless he was treated always after this with great 
consideration, and without doubt he did the government very good 
service, and was faithful to his engagements as far as it was possible 
for him to stand to them, but there were occasions yet to come when 
he had to shift for himself as best he could. 

Apparently in order to carry off cattle to Ulster, O'Donnell brought 
MacWilliam into Tirawley at the end of June, and left him there with 
Rury, Hugh's brother, and a body of soldiers. Clifford sent O'Conor 
Sligo and Tibbot na Long against them, and posted himself at Collooney 
to cut off their retreat. MacWilliam and Rury tried to escape through 
the Ox Mountains, and passed the river near Collooney before day 
on the 29th June. The garrison* discovering them, captured 1200 


cattle and killed 200 men besides stragglers in pursuit. MacWilliam 
and Rury escaped with a few men. 

At the end of July Cliflford led his forces to Ballyshannon, where 
he maintained the siege for five days, when he was obliged to retire 
on receipt of news that Lord Burgh, who had marched against Tyrone, 
had retreated, leaving Tyrone free to join his forces to those of 
O'Donnell and Maguire and O'Rourk. He beat off O'Donnell's 
attack, and was not molested after passing Bunduff. On the way 
back he intercepted letters from the Clandonnells offering to join 
O'Donnell if Cliflford failed to take Tyrconnell. Orders were sent to 
Tibbot na Long to arrest the Clandonnells. 

At this time 700 beeves had been paid on account of arrears of 
composition rent of Mayo, but it was impossible to press for more. 
The country was so exhausted that it was harder to keep soldiers in 
Connaught than elsewhere. 

Towards the end of September, O'Xeill and O'Donnell sent Mac- 
William into Mayo with 700 men and Feriagh MacHugh and Ulick 
Burke, the murderer of George Bingham, while themselves prepared 
to meet another invasion by Lord Burgh. Cliflford writes that 
MacWilliam means to keep himself in Mayo during the winter by 
the strength of the bogs and woods, presuming that Cliflford cannot 
follow him for want of victuals. "This is true, the waste of the 
country is grown so great." 

In other respects MacWilliam failed to understand the situation. 
Tibbot na Long fell on him, and killed his brother Thomas and 40 of 
his men. He had to fly to Ulster again. All his followers in Mayo 
applied to Cliflford for protection, and promised to give in their 
pledges by the end of October. 

Cliflford gives a summary of results up to the 30th September, as 
follows, in reference to Mayo : — 

At his coming all Mayo was in rebellion except William Bourke 
of Shrule and his son, Oliverus MacShane and his brother Edmond, 
William Bourke FitzRichard who flew into Munster, MacMorris and 
Davy MacMorris. 

After Tibbot na Long came in, MacWilliam took Oliverus prisoner, 
whom Cliflford redeemed. 

Tibbot and the Devil's Hook, and others to the number of 1000, 
had come in and given pledges. 

MacWilliam had lost 200 of his men in July. At his coming in 
this month his brother Thomas and one of the chief commanders 
of the MacDonnells, with 30 or 40 of his men, were slain. He has 
only 200 to 300 of this county and 400 from Tirconnell, 700 in all. 

The provincial rebels are 4800 foot at least and 400 horse. 

The principal prisoners reserved upon several killings were John 


INLicJonyn, John MacMorris, Edmond Melaghlen, Davy MacRicard 

He liad taken and kept the important castles of the Brees, Castlebar, 
and JiallindeiTV in Gahvay. 

According to the Four Masters, John Og, son of Richard, son of 
John of the Termon, was slain by some of the ClanDonnell in a night 
attack on the island of Annies in Lough Carra. These MacDonnells 
were probably rebels, but it may have been the result of a private 

By the middle of November the settlement of the country was 
advanced so far tliat sheriffs were put in Mayo and Sligo, where none 
had been for three years. Clifford engaged most of the late rebels 
and put them in some band of soldiers. Tibbot na Long and his 
l)rother Oliverus, and Ulick MacEdmund Bourke, and David Mac- 
Ulick e Temple (an Timchill) and Morogh ne Moyre O'Flaherty 
were made captains over their own men. At the end of the year 
only the O'Malleys and Tibbot Mac Walter Kittagh were actually in 
rebellion, and the latter was hourly expected from Ulster. He came 
in January 1598, and was quickly expelled. 

A truce made with Tyrone and O'Donnell was extended from time 
to time until the 7th June. The negotiations fell through because 
they insisted that Theobald should have the seigniory and lands of 
Mac William. They were obliged to insist on terms for their con- 
federates to save their credit for the future. The queen was not 
yet beaten to the degree of restoring the abolished chieftainships and 
abandoning the government of their countries. 

On the 14th August the English suffered their greatest defeat 
at the Yellow Ford from Tyrone and O'Donnell, with whom were 
MacWilliam and 1000 Connaughtmen in O'Donnell's pay. This 
defeat materially affected the position in Connaught. Reporting the 
state of Connaught on the 13th September, Clifford writes that the 
queen controlled fifty or sixty castles, and that the owner of any one 
■of them would come to him on a mere message or surrender the castle 
ever since MacWilliam was banished, though they were only upon 
protection, and desirous of receiving pardons. " On the first day of 
MacWilliam's coming with O'Donnell's whole force, Mayo and 81igo 
are entirely lost." If MacWilliam get footing again, all must join. 
No pledges can hold them in face of certain loss of their cattle. 

Two of the MacDonoghs of Corran had got possession of Ballymote 
Castle in June by treachery. They now offered to sell it to Sir 
Conyers Clifford. O'Donnell came with a large army at the end of 
September, to buy it or take it. It was not easy to take this the 
greatest castle in Connaught except Ballintubber. He agreed there- 
fore to pay the very high price of ^400 and 300 cows. The latter he 


acquired quickly by a raid into Roscommon and Galway, paid the 
price and received possession. 

About the same time he sent MacWilliam to Mayo with O'Doherty 
and MacSwiney Banagh, who took a number of cattle from the Owles 
and drove them off to Ulster. MacWilliam was now set up again in 
Mayo. The rebels were soon reported to be 2000 foot and 200 horse, 
increasing daily by the coming of Scots. Tibbot na Long was obliged 
to live on the sea. An O'Brien was set up against Lord Thomond. 
Clifford could do nothing with only 120 English soldiers. The 
government in Dublin, terrified by the defeat of the Yellow Ford, 
thought only of their own safety. Thus all Connaught was abandoned 
except the town of Galway, which held its own, and a few castles held 
by small garrisons. 

In the beginning of 1599 the whole country was at the mercy of 
O'Donnell, who made Ballymote his headquarters. When he made a 
raid into Thomond with a large force at the end of January, he sent 
a party under MacWilliam and ISTiall Gai-bh O'Donnell into Mayo, 
who plundered from Costello to the Owles without opposition. 

" MacWilliam and Niall Garbh arrived with their forces at the 
island of Leathardan, and they attacked the place boldly and fiercely, 
and though the defence was made against them bi\avely it did not 
profit those who made it, for they leaped from every side and quarter 
into the place among them. Eighteen of the chief men of Clan- 
gibbon were slain and slaughtered, and a great number of others 
besides. The place was plundered by them also." (F.M.) 

This island seems to have been a crannog on the little lake of 
Lahardane, about a mile from Aghagower. On its west side is a 
small mound which may have been an island or peninsula before 
the lake was lowered. It is so small that it is diflScult to believe 
that many men were inside it. This is the only case I know of 
in this county of occupation of a crannog as a crannog by Anglo- 
Norman settlers. In other cases a stone castle was built. The 
detachment rejoined O'Donnell on his way back to Ballymote. The 
despatch of a party to rob in Mayo shows how little real support 
O'Donnell got there. 

At the end of last year the English government sent 1000 men 
under Sir Arthur Savage, and £1500 to Sir Conyers for Connaught, 
forbidding the Irish government to divert them. These men did 
not arrive until February. In March Clifford began the restoration 
of government by recovering Clare and Galway, but was called away 
by Lord Essex to the south, and so obliged to leave Mayo and the 
north alone. The rebels were now computed at 600 foot and 60 
horse under MacWilliam and the Joys. 

In July Clifford was ordered to relieve Collooney, and to rebuild 



the castle of Sligo. He arranged that Tibbot na Long, with Morogh 
na Maor O'Fhiherty under him, should take ships to Sligo with 
provisions, military stores, and building materials, and meet him 
after the relief of Collooney. Tibbot brought his ships round and 
anchored in Sligo Bay, watched by a detachment from O'Donnell's 

Now the English suffered the defeat of the Yellow Pass in the 
Curlews. The Bourkes of Mayo who were in the queen's service 
were probably with him, but Oliver Bourke and Theobald Dillon are 
the only Mayo men mentioned. 

On reaching Boyle fi-om Tulsk on the 15th August, 1599, Clifford 
heard that the pass was not held by the enemy. At 4 p.m. of a 
dark rainy day he left Boyle to get through the pass, which was 
watched and guarded. The forces of O'Rourk and MacDermot fell 
on his men, routed them, and killed him and Sir Henry Radcliff. 
The army was saved by the cavalry, whose vigorous charge checked 
pursuit, but with loss to themselves. 

The English loss, according to the official return, was 10 officers 
and 231 men slain; 12 officers and 196 men wounded, out of a force 
of 1496. The army was badly led, and was fairly beaten and 
routed by a lesser number skilfully led, but was not broken up 
and was not pursued. Nevertheless, being fairly beaten in the 
open, it was so demoralised and disheartened that the men were 
dispersed into garrisons to recover spirit. The results show how 
complete the beating was. 

O'Conor Sligo surrendered and entered into alliance with O'Donnell, 
who gave him cattle and sheep, and set him up as a chieftain. 

The day after the battle O'Donnell came to the sea-shore, and 
begged Tibbot to give him some wine, and invited him to come 
himself to help to drink it. Tibbot was cautious, and refused to 
land ; but on receiving pledges, sent Morogh na Maor and Baxter, 
who tells this tale, and Captain Coatch, with a barrel of wine. 
O'Donnell tried to get Morogh to arrange with Tibbot that they 
should seize the English ships, and hand them over to him. Tibbot 
would not lend himself to this scheme, and brought his little fleet 
back to Galvvay. 

Tibbot and his brother and O'Malley had three good galleys, each 
able to carry 300 men, at this place. Captain Fildew's galley had 
been taken by treachery in 1595, and two more had been built on 
that model. 

For some time no governor was appointed. Sir Arthur Savage 
was usually in chief command of the forces, associated some- 
times with Lord Dunkellin. Civil government was practically in 

o'donnell's domination and the final peace 275 

Yet the victory did not lay all Connaught under the feet of the 
rebels. Lord Clanricard killed 100 of Redmond Burke's party in 
Clanricard, and took prisoner Ricard Og MacJonyn, who was 
executed. This man had been for years one of the most energetic 
of the Mayo rebels, and had gone out at every opportunity. Tibbot 
na Long and the other captains in the queen's pay, by having men 
in pay under their command, were able to make head against 
Mac William. In September Tibbot was able to besiege Mac William, 
who was relieved by O'Donnell. 

Some of the O'Malleys and O'Flahertys, with five or six galleys 
and a number of boats, stationed themselves in the Shannon below 
Limerick, in order to help the rebels by transport of supplies, and 
to hamper the passage of the river by the queen's subjects. 

In December O'Donnell came to Mayo, and arranged for a truce 
until May between the two Tibbots. The terms do not appear, but 
we can infer that they agreed not to attack each other in Mayo, 
but to be free to act outside Mayo as they pleased. It also seems 
to have restricted Mac William to his own barony of Tirawley. The 
Bourkes of Kilmaine did not adhere to him. Whatever the arrange- 
ment may have been, it left the Mayo men in peace among them- 
selves until 1601. They fought in other regions, some for the queen, 
some against her. 

In the beginning of the year 1600 the fortunes of Tyrone and 
O'Donnell reached their highest point. Tyrone had carried the war 
into Munster. O'Donnell had nearly all Connaught under his power. 
After Lord Mountjoy's coming to the government in the spring, their 
power waned under a new system of attack. The system of sending 
armies in force to attack an enemy who took refuge in woods and 
mountains, and who came out only when opportunity offered for 
successful attack in advantageous conditions, had failed, because 
such large bodies could not be maintained for long, and sometimes 
suffered great disaster. The forces were not enough to occupy the 
whole country at once in irresistible strength. The system which 
was effective against highly organised and civilised states was in- 
effective against slightly organised tribes. 

The Irish method of warfare was adopted. The Irish made raids, 
robbed, burnt, and destroyed the enemy's country until he submitted 
to avoid further loss. Their eagerness to carry away their plunder 
made their warfare less effective than it might have been. It was 
very satisfactory to the Ulster chiefs, as it had been before to those 
of Leix, for they made raids around them, carried off much cattle 
and goods, and thus their countries prospered greatly, so long as 
the queen's armies came in large bodies and left the country again. 
For they got easy terms for submission, and did not restore their 


plunder or make good their damage. Leix liad prospered amazingly 
as long as the queen's soldiers were kept out while the people 
of Leix plundered around them. Lord Sussex had ended those 
ideal conditions by adopting Irish methods. So now again Lord 
Mountjoy and Sir George Carew set to work in the Irish fashion 
in Ulster and Munster. They destroyed growing corn and every- 
thing that could serve the enemy. Giving time to the work, and 
having the advantage of organisation and discipline, they did it 

In the middle of May Sir Henry Docwra landed in the Foyle 
with 4000 foot and 200 horse, harassed the country constantly, 
extending his power and establishing garrisons, and soon brought 
over to the queen's side Niall Garbh O'Donnell and O'Doherty. 
Thus Ulster was being attacked on both sides. 

Connaught and Mayo were left alone. The government was not 
strong enough to do everything at once. All Connaught was ready 
to submit as soon as the power of O'Donnell and O'Neill was broken 
in Ulster, and it was not in the meantime a source of strength to 
Ulster. O'Donnell domineered there while his strength was being 
sapped in Ulster. From this time his presence in Connaught may 
be taken to mark real weakness. His proper place was in his own 
country protecting his people. He could not protect them effectively. 
His enemy was steadily gaining ground. 

Dermot O'Conor, son of Dualtagh O'Conor, of the O'Conor Donn 
family, commanded 1500 Connaughtmen, who formed a strong 
element in the rebel forces of Munster. On the 12th March he 
sent a company, commanded by Ricard Bourke, into Lord Barry's 
barony of Ibaune to levy money and food. Lord Barry's nephew, 
with 100 men of his own and some men from the garrisons, attacked 
the company, which he drove away, killing llicard and Theobald 
Bourke, MacTibbot Bourke's two sons, Teig and Owen O'Malley, 
and other leaders, and about 60 men. But he was killed himself. 
The names show that this was a company of Mayo men. 

In August Teig O'Kelly and Walter MacCostello, two chief leaders 
of rebels under James Fitz-Thomas and Pierce Lacy, were killed 
by the Knight of Kerry. The Mayo men were evidently doing a 
fair share of the fighting in that country. 

Dermot O'Conor retired to his own country after the failure of 
his treacherous seizure of the Sugan Earl of Desmond in order to 
band him over to Sir George Carew. In the autumn he offered 
to support the Earl of Desmond against the Sugan Earl, and was 
given a letter of protection to pass into Munster. On the 22nd 
November he reached Gort with a small force. Tibbot na Long 
and his cousin, David MacUlick, came up with him with their 

o'donnell's domination and the final peace. 277 

companies, attacked him, and drove him into a church, which was 
set on fire. Forty of his men Avere killed, and he was captured. 
Kext morning Tibbot hanged him. 

Tibbot thought this action worthy of reward, Dermot being a 
notorious traitor in command of armed men. But Tibbot's action 
was believed to have been due less to his zeal for the queen's service 
than to a desire to avenge the death of Tibbot's cousins, Lord 
Castleconnell and his brother, in whose death Dermot had been 
concerned. Lord Mountjoy looked on it as a murder, and suspended 
Tibbot from his employment, intending to dismiss him. But no 
action was in fact taken. It seems to have been impossible to prove 
that Tibbot knew of Dermot's arrangement and protection, and it 
was, on the other hand, knowui to all men that Dermot had 'been 
hitherto an open and active rebel. 

O'Donnell had given Theobald the name of MacWilliam, but had 
failed to invest him with the power and the profits. After four 
years Theobald's position was worse, as the power of the Sliocht 
Ulick confined his MacWilliamship to Tirawley. The establishment 
of Sir H. Docwra's force in Tirconnell altered O'Donnell's own 
position. It was no longer a question whether he could maintain 
his Connaught adherents against the queen, but whether he could 
hold his own country against her. Theobald, seeing the risk of 
losing all, opened negotiations to secure himself at O'Donnell's 

Theobald communicated a project to a Captain A. Blackcaddell, 
i.e. Blake, who passed it on, for submission to Sir Robert Cecil, to 
Captain Thomas Lee, of the family of Ditchley in Oxfordshire, who 
had become acquainted with Captain Blake at Galway, which he 
had left not long before Blake wrote on the 26th June. He 
designed to carry O'Donnell, and O'Rourk, and half-a-dozen of 
the principal chieftains of O'Donnell's party off into England, 
alive or dead. Blake believed the offer to be genuine, but had 
reasonable doubt whether the queen ought to part Avith her 

The scheme in detail was as follows. Theobald was sure of a 
welcome in Tirconnell whenever he came with 300 or 400 men. 
Under colour of having a place of retreat and safety during troubles 
in Connaught, for his goods and for his wife to live in, he would get 
the castle of Killybegs into his own hands by means of moi-tgage, 
by lending .£800 or X900 to the owner, MacSwiney, whose wife 
was his sister. 

O'Donnell was in the habit of coming to Donegal for rest and 
conference with a few of his principal chiefs, and for communication 
with those who came in French and Spanish ships. Theobald being 


one of these would watch his opportunity, and had no doubt of his 
ability to seize O'Donnell and the others and take them, alive or 
dead, to Killybegs, only twelve miles away, where they could be 
held against the whole country, until one of the queen's ships, which 
should be off the coast, could come in and take them off. 

His demands were that he should be restored in blood, and should 
be made Earl of Mayo; to have 150 foot and 50 horse in pay; to 
have c£1000 immediately. 

This project was submitted to Sir R. Cecil, who was reminded of it 
by Captain Lee on the 7th September. Some further communications 
must have been made, as at the final decision MacWilliam's demands 
were: — 1, The Earldom of Mayo; 2, to be her Majesty's lieutenant 
of the county ; 3, to have 150 horse and 50 foot ; 4, to receive at once 
■£1000 ; 5, O'Rourk to be made lord of his country and her Majesty's 
lieutenant for it, with 100 horse; 6, Captain T. Lee to be governor 
of Connaught. 

The queen agreed to these demands, except that the jfilOOO would 
be paid after performance, and that she would not make Captain Lee 
governor of Connaught, though she might appoint him elsewhere, but 
would not be bound. ^ The decision was not made until the 24th 
December. The refusal to advance the XI 000 made it impossible for 
Theobald to carry out the project. If he had got the £1000, it is not 
certain that enough would have been left in his hands by the time his 
negotiations with MacSwiney were over to satisfy MacSwiney, and 
it is certain that if he had failed to arrange with MacSwiney the 
queen would not have got her money back. Even after the essential 
preliminary was arranged, the enterprise would have been full 
of risk. 

In the beginning of 1601 the two Theobalds quarrelled again for 
unknown reasons. On the 2nd March Tibbot na Long made a sudden 
attack on MacWilliam, who lost many men and most of his arms, 
but escaped to Ulster. The scene of attack is not named, but was 
most likely somewhere in South Mayo, as this success was followed 
next day by an assembly of the Sliocht Ulick, in which Richard 
Bourke, the Devil's Hook's son, was proclaimed MacWilliam. 

O'Donnell could not help his MacWilliam until after Michaelmas, 
when he sent him back to Mayo with soldiers. The rivals met 
in battle, when Richard was killed. Thus tlie old condition was 

H.M.S. Tremontana cruised for two months up to the middle of 

July off Donegal Bay to intercept ships from Spain with supplie.s for 

the rebels. It seems to have been their custom to make first for 

Broadhaven Bay in Erris. In this time she had met only one galley 

1 S.r.I.E., CCVll. part vi. Nos. 98, 100, 101. 

o'donnell's domination and the final peace. 279 

of 38 oars with 100 shot on board, which she forced to run on the 
rocks between Teelin and Killybegs. They fired on a boat, but the 
Tremontana came up and ended the affray with her guns. It was 
reported that this and another galley manned by O'Flahertys had 
been fitted out to plunder the MacSwineys. Captain Plessington 
of the Tremontana writes that she belonged to Grace O'Malley, whose 
base son was her captain. That she belonged to Grace is not unlikely, 
but that her captain was Grace's base son is untrue. He was pro- 
bably one of her sons, or an O'Malley, and the error must have 
arisen in the interpretation of information given in Irish. MacSwiney 
Banagh was MacWilliam's brother-in-law. These must have been 
on their way to plunder MacSwiney ne Doe, who was on the English 
side at this time. 

There was no more fighting in Mayo. MacWilliam went with 
O'Donnell to the relief of Kinsale, and went with him to Spain after 
the battle of Kinsale. The name of MacWilliam disappeared for 
evei'. This great title seems to have come into use to denote the 
head of the line of William Og in Connaught in the beginning of the 
fourteenth century, and may be said to have lasted for exactly three 
hundred years, if we count the nominal chiefs after Sir Richard 
Bourke. The Gaelic tribal organisation disappeared with that great 
name for ever. 

Sir Oliver Lambert had but to restore government in a country 
where resistance was impossible, where, so far as we have material 
for judgment, almost none were left who wished to resist since the 
Sliocht Ulick Bourke, the intractable element in Mayo, came over to 
the queen's side. Warfare and hope of unsettlement by war were 
over. Organisation and administration on the new basis proceeded 
in peace. 



In the earliest legendary period this country was within the kingdom 
of Irrusdomnonn, and was inhabited by a Clann Umoir tribe called 
Tuath Resent Umoir. The Partraighe in the western part and in 
Ross wei'e of that race. 

Afterwards the great tribes called Conmaicne and Ciarraighe and 
Corcamogha grew up, whom I take to be descendants of a Fergus of 
the Fir Craibe race, who has been confused with Fergus MacRoigh of 
Ulster. They settled over the old tribes as the Ui Briuin and 
Silmurray settled on other tribes, and were the mainstay of the Ui 
Briuin kings of Connaught, being in fact the royal tribes, as the 
Silmurray were in later times. 

Their settlement was at the expense of the kingdom of Irrusdom- 
nonn, and marks the decay of the Gamanraighe power before that of 
Fir Craibe and of the Tuatha Taidhen, as shown in the list of kings of 
Connaught. The Ui Briuin having gained ascendency in Connaught 
were able to settle themselves upon weaker neighbours in Roscommon, 
and Mayo, and Galway. 

The following genealogy from the Book of Fenagh, though it cannot 
be taken as accurate, may be taken to express the tribal relationships 
of the Conmaicne families of Mayo and Galway : — 


Findchaem. Fraech. 


Cairid. Dubhan. Cas. Lugna. 

Brugad. Lugaid. Cinel Cinel Cinel 

i I Dubhain. Cais. Lugna. 

Enna. f Conmaicne Cuile Muinter 

I A Toladh. Crechain. 

Cinel Enna. v Conmaicne Mara. 

Cairid and a daughter of Enna, son of Brugad, are said to have 
been contemporaries of St. Patrick. 



The Conmaicne of Cuil Toladh occupied the baronies of Ross and 
Kilmaine, except the parts north of the Robe, and a tiact in the 
east of Kilmaine occupied by the Muinter Crechain. The other 
clans seem to have been under the Cinel Dubhain, called also *' of 
Dunmore." The Cinel Enna seem to have been on the southern 
slope of Slieve Dart.^ 

The chief of the Cuil Toladh Clan bore the name of O'Talcharain. 
These tribes make little show in the annals and legends. 

The great cairns and other monuments in the country between 
Ballinchalla and Cross show it to have been the seat of a great 
reigning family in prehistoric times. 

Cuil Toladh (Corner of Piercing), seems to have been applied to the 
covintry of Cong, where the waters sink and rise among the rocks. 

The country about Kilmaine is distinguished by important forts, 
which mark it as the residence of the local chiefs, if not of prin- 
cipal kings. Lisnatreanduff in Ballymartin is a singular fort. It 
has three deep ditches, whose sides were once faced with stone. 
A strong stone wall surrounded the space inside the inner ditch. 
Similar walls were on the top of the inner sides of the other ditches, 
and a smaller wall was on the outer edge of the outer ditch. Four 
entrances, dividing the defences into quadrants, gave access by ground 
of the natural level. It was probably the greatest fort in Mayo of 
the earth and stone type, and must have been an impressive building 
in its time. 

Rausakeera (Rath Essa Caerach), near Kilmaine, where the Blind 
Abbot and Theobald Bourke were inaugurated MacWilliam, is a 
common earthen fort with a slight ditch and a souterrain inside. 
This use suggests that it was the inauguration place of former chief- 
tains, adopted by the Bourkes. 

As noted before, the whole cantred came into the hands of Maurice 
FitzGerald. When Sir Maurice FitzMaurice died in 1288, it was 
divided between his daughters Amabill and Juliana. The Earl of 
Kildare's Red Book notes many deeds conveying Amabill's share to 
John FitzThomas, which give a glimpse of territorial subdivision. 
■ Of her share the western part seems to have been known as Lough 
Mask, and the rest to have been known as Dannocharne, Athecarta, 
Moyenry, Kollnegassill, Molesuarne. The first and last I take to be 
meant for Domnach Uarain and Maol Lios Uarain, the divisions of a 
large denomination known as Uaran, the Fountain. Petty's map 
places the former near Fountain Hill and Kilmainebeg. Maol 
Lis survives in Mweelis, near Roundfort. In modern dress these 
five would be Donaghoran or Church Fountain, Carras, the Heath, 
Cloonagashell, Mweelis-Oran or Roundfort Fountain. ^ 

1 Healy, " Life and Writings of St. Patrick," 221. " R S.A.I., xxxi. 32, 


As John FitzThomas gave the manors of Lough Mask and Dona- 
ghoran to the earl as compensation, it is probable that the whole of 
his share was organised in those two manors. 

After this transfer it seems to have passed into the hands of Sir 
William de Burgo or of his sons, as tenants under the earl. But he 
may have been in possession already as tenant of considerable por- 
tions, inherited from his father, as we find the descendants of his 
brothers John and Philip in possession of large freehold estates. 

From Juliana the northern half passed to her De Clare descendants. 
Of their connection with it we know only that Margaret de Badeles- 
mere, as co-heiress of her brother Thomas, killed in 1318, held a 
messuage and a garden and half of a weir in Ballinrobe, which was 
then a small town. It is most likely that the castle of Ballinrobe and 
most of her lands were let to Sir William or one of his sons. At the 
first occupation of the country Maurice FitzGerald must have given 
the western part, forming the bulk of the barony of Ross, to a Joy. 
This is the only family of the original colonists which survived to the 
sixteenth century. 

By unrecorded means the whole came into possession of Mac- 
William. Much land must have been held by small freeholders 
and on burgage tenure, but all disappeared with the English law save 
the great freeholders of Clan Jonyn, Clan Meyler, and Sleight vie 
Tibbot. The remainder, exclusive of the ecclesiastical lands and those 
reserved as demesnes of the castles belonging to the title of Mac- 
William, were assigned in freehold to branches of MacWilliam's 
family or to MacDonnells in payment for military service, all subject 
to MacWilliam's customary exactions or rights of service. 

The great partition began at the death of Sir Thomas Bourke, 
when his sons were provided with hereditary estates, as is shown in 
the notes on the Historia et GeneaJogia Familiae de Burgo. 

When baronies were formed it was intended that Kilmaine should 
consist of the lands of Mac William, Sleight Walter, Clan Jonyn, Clan 
Meyler, and Sleight vie Tibbot. Muinter Crechain was thrown into 
Carra becaxise the Bourkes of Bellanaloob were chieftains over it. The 
list of townlands of Muinter Crechain shows the position of their 
territory, but not the original extent of land held by that tribe, which 
may have been more. The whole Bellanaloob estate bore the name. 
Later it was found more convenient to bring the estate into Kilmaine 
because the Muinter Crechain part was not conveniently situated to 
form a part of Carra. The whole estate was put at 32 quarters in the 
composition, but it was much larger, being nineteen towns according 
to the Hist, et Gen. This agrees with inquisitions of 4th April 1609 
and 11th January 1610, which recite that David Bourke of Bellana- 
loob had a head rent of 3s. 4d. from each quarter of the 80 quarters 


of Muinter Crechain. This must have come to him by the distribu- 
tion of the head rents granted in the composition to MacWilliam. 

Thus the part lying north of the Robe came into the barony. 
According to D. MacFirbis, in his Great Book of Genealogies, the 
estates of Sir Thomas Boui-ke were divided between five sons, who 
were thus settled : Walter in Conmaicne Chuile, Edmond na Fesoige 
in Clann Chuain, Richard of Turlach in TuathTruim, John in Muinter 
Chreachain, and Thomas Og in Pobal Ghearr. 

The descendants of Walter and Edmond and Richard are found in 
those lands. John is probably the son who died of the plague in 
1384. The important family of Bellanaloob, who cannot be connected 
with the Bourkes of Cavra and Kilmaine, may be assumed to have 
been John's descendants. 

Thomas Og is called also Thomas of Moyne. The Pobal Ghearr must 
be the same as Eraght Thomas. Lord Clanricard's claim in 1566 and 
1571, and an inquisition of 4th April 1609, show that Moyne was 
part of Eraght Thomas. It must be included within one of the 
Ballys in Hist, et Gen. It is recited that Eraght Thomas consisted 
of eighteen towns divided between five brothers, of whom two conveyed 
their shares to the first Earl of Clanricard, who entered into the 
castle of Moyne and all the territory except a mill and four acres at 
Moyne. In the end the earl got Moyne and four quarters and two 
quarters in Ballymartin. 

The dispute of 1566 was with MacWilliam, that of 1571 was with 
Walter FitzJohn Bourke, a man of considerable importance whom I 
cannot connect with the Sliocht Walter, and whom I suspect in the 
circumstances to have claimed as one of the hereditary owners of 
Eraght Thomas. The family of Thomas Og seems to have been 
extinct by the end of the century. Their extinction would result in 
the division of the inheritance, or of as much as was left, between 
the descendants of Walter, whose descendants we find to have become 
owners of parts of this territory. 

The rest of the barony of Kilmaine, exclusive of the ecclesiastical 
lands, was held in demesne by MacWilliam and by the great clans 
mentioned. At the close of the century only two or three Gaelic 
families, besides the newly imported MacDonnells, were owners of 
freehold land, and they held very little. 

Bellanaloob and the part of the estate lying north of the river 
Rodte were no part of Muinter Crechain, though that name came to 
cover the whole estate. Sliocht Walter likewise held a part of 
ancient Carra. 

These three estates were minor chiefries carved out of the cantred 
of Conmaicnecuile and part of Carra, and each probably originally 
included a quantity of freeholders' lands which paid only fixed rents. 


The arrangements must have been much modified in this respect in 
course of time since the first assignment, which should have been 
made by Sir Thomas or after his death. 

The Sliocht Walter estate was further subdivided. William of 
Shrule, head of the sept in 1585, had 80 quarters with his free- 
holders. Edmond of Cong and his freeholders had 48 quarters. The 
Bourkes of Cloonagashel, grandsons of Richard III., had a large 
estate, the extent not exactly stated. These latter estates seem to 
have been minor chiefries. Other Bourkes had minor estates, such 
as those of Monycrower. It is impossible to make out any system 
of assignment of hereditary estates of any particular amount to junior 
branches of these clans. So far as the evidence goes, we may say that 
a certain amount in Kilmaine was allotted for maintenance of the 
dignity of MacWilliam, namely, the castles of Ballinrobe, Lough 
Mask, and Kinlough, with their demesne lands. The re3t was divided, 
and each sept in turn subdivided its inheritance. MacWilliam had 
rights as chieftain over all. The only thing that comes out clearly is 
that there was no system of redistribution at intervals, as has some- 
times been alleged. These remarks apply equally to all the families 
of colonists. But our evidence is slight, and the later tenures were 
no doubt considerably affected by the earlier English tenures. 

The MacSeonins were the next family of importance. They owned 
a considerable estate lying mainly from Kilmaine eastwards, but as 
we have not records of their tenures until the seventeenth century 
inquisitions, when many changes had taken place, their original 
estates cannot be exactly defined. They were a very large family, 
and occupied many castles and lands as tenants of the Archbishop of 
Tuam and of the Bourkes. This name is now rendered Jennings. 

MacTibbot of the Crich was the head of the family called the 
Sliocht Mhic Teboid na Criche. His castle of the Crich was in the 
townland of the Creevagh in the parish of Kilmolara. The sept 
owned lands thereabouts, and Rahard, and Cuslough, and near Annies 
on the shore of Loch Carra. " Every MacWilliam has a penny and 
thirteen ounces in the country of MacTibbot's sept in Cos Locha." 
To the family of MacTibbot may be attributed the thirteenth or 
fourteenth century manor house called the castle of Cuslough, and 
formerly the castle of Ballyneglonty, Town of the Cloons — i.e. Cloon- 
liffen, Cloonenagh, and other cloons near it. 

The family did not increase. There were but few members of it 
in the sixteenth century. 

The MacMeylers of the Neale held an estate about the Keale, 
adjoining that of the MacTibbots. MacMeyler was a juror of one 
of the inquisitions taken for the prepaiation of the indenture of 
composition. They did not increase ; were a small family like the 


MacTibbots. The greater part of their estate was sold by them to 
Mr. John Browne, but some of them retained their shares in the 
castle and lands of the Neale into the seventeenth centui'y. 

The Clandonnell Gallowglass spread all over Mayo, found in every 
barony except Ross, and Murrisk, and Erris. In many cases they 
were ordinary tenants under the Bourkes and other lords, but they 
held much land as bonaught, fees for military service, which they 
held of the Crown after Sir Henry Sidney's arrangement with Sir 
John Bourke in 1586. In this barony they were settled in the castles 
and lands of Aghalahard, Ballykine, Mocorha, Moylla or HoUymount, 
Togher, and Liskillen. 

Their appearance in Ireland was a consequence of the settlement 
in Antrim of John Mor MacDonnell, son of John of Islay, upon his 
marriage with Margery Bisset, heiress of the Glens, about 1399. 
The wars of the Kings of Scotland with the Clandonnells caused 
much dispersal, to which we may ascribe the appearance of so many 
MacDonnells in Ireland about that time as constables of Gallow- 

Sir Henry Sidney mentions seven lineages, or families, as coming 
from Mayo. Their relationships cannot be made out, but they held 
together very much as a clan, having a " MacDonnell " as chief, 
whereby they had great influence in the country. At the close of 
the sixteenth century they were only country gentlemen, no longer 
the leaders of drilled mercenary soldiers. 

Their principal settlements were in Kilmaine, Carra, Burrishoole, 
and Tirawley, under the Bourkes, those in Clanmorris, Costello, and 
Gallen being insignificant. 



Carra was a well-defined territory from early times, occupied by old 
Domnonian clans. After the fourth century Hy Fiachrach clans 
settled over them, leaving in view only a few families of the Partry 
in Odhbha if, as is probable, their descent from Fiachra is fictitious. 
Odhbha included the parishes of Ballintubber and Ballyheane, in yet 
earlier times when the Partry had their own king. 

MacFirbis's tract on the Hy Fiachrach gives a detailed account of 
the families settled in Carra and Tirawley and Erris, defining the 
seat of many families with great accuracy as they were about the 
thirteenth century. The chieftains of Carra were of the families of 
O'Tierney, O'Mvirray, MacNeill, O'Gormghail, and used the title of 
kint^. The Clann Cuain, known also as Fir Thire and Fir Siuire, 
Men of Siuir, the river which flows by Castlebar, had as chieftain 
O'Cuinn. Their territory comprised the parishes of Clancowane, now 
called Aglish, Islandeady, Turlough, Breaghwy, and Kildacommoge, 
and seems to have been the same as that of the earlier Corcu Themne. 
Clann Cuain transferred its allegiance to MacDermot in the twelfth 
century, under the circumstances stated in Chapter V. 

By the thirteenth century the tribal distinction between Odhbha 
and Carra was lost. The whole was divided between Carra and 
Clancowane. The Hy Fiachrach clans were so feeble that Torlogh 
Moi-'s descendants were being settled over them, as they had settled 
over the Domnonians 600 years before. None survived as freeholders 
to the close of the sixteenth century. We know only the names and 
positions of these tribes. 

Fert Lothair, Aenach, and Loch Buadhaigh are named as the three 
royal forts of Carra. Fert Lothair is mentioned as occupied by 
Ailill Inbandha when St. Cormac visited him. There is no indica- 
tion of its position or of that of Loch Buadhaigh. Aenach was in 
O'Gormgialla's lordship to the south of Toberloona. The great fort 
in the field to the north of Liskillen farmyard is likely to be the 
place. It was a fort of the first rank, having a diameter of 104 feet 
within the wall inside the inner ditch, a wall on the rampart between 
the inner and outer ditches, and a wall on the outer edge of the 



outer ditch ; and all the faces of these ditches were revetted with 

When the 0' Conors, who seem to have held all Carra as principal 
chiefs, were ejected by Richard de Burgo in 1236, Carra was let out 
in two great fees, called Carra and Clancowane. 

Adam Staunton, a great baron of Kildare, or his son Philip, got 
Carra, wherein he built Castlecarra immediately, one of the earliest 
Norman castles in Mayo, but the present building in ruins may be 
of later date. The wall across the isthmus may well be original. 
He founded also a small town, whereof only the name survives in 

Adam was succeeded by his son Philip, and he by his son Adam, 
who died in 1299. His estates were divided between five daughters. 
Carra, having been assigned first to Nesta and another, became the 
share of Nesta. When her father died she was married to Simon de 
Flatisbury, but by 1316 was wife of Fromund Le Brun. By 1325 
Fromund and Nesta had transferred the manor of Carra to John, 
Earl of Louth. I find no indication of the further devolution of the 

The original grantee gave a large fee to one of his relations, from 
whom came the Stauntons of Carra, known as Mac an Mhilidh in 
Irish, now MacEvilly. MacEvilly owned the castle of Kinturk, which 
was most likely the original fee, and the castle of Manulla until 1592, 
and Kilvonell, now called Castlebourke, and Castlecarra. Castlecarra 
was the manor house, and head of the fee. Its devolution is un- 
certain, but it was in MacEvilly's hands vuitil it was sold to Lord 
Trimleston in Sir N. Malbie's time, and by him to Captain W. Bowen 
in 1586. 

We have no genealogy of this family. It was said to dei'ive from 
a Bernard Staunton. A Bernard was extant in the thirteenth cen- 
tury, who had a son Philip. A Sir Bernard of Connaught was alive 
in 1333. 

A branch of the Stauntons took the name of MacUlkin or MacHul- 
kin. Some owned Ballybanan and other townlands in that district. 

A family of Branaghs or Walshes of Rosslahan, near Welshpool, 
are the only other early colonists who survived as freeholders to the 
close of the sixteenth century. 

In 1306 a family named Savage held some lands. In 1316 
Fromund le Brun and Nesta claimed from William, son of William 
de Burgo, suit and service in their court of Carra in respect of his 
freehold in Sauvage's castle, and four vills of land therein. This 
castle is not identified, but is likely to be Castle Lucas. The name 
of Le Sauvage survived in the denomination of the eight quarters 
of land called Levally ne Tavese in the composition, but in the 


preliminary inquisition, Levally in Tavase, Halftown of le Sauvage. 
This is some evidence that Sir William had got a footing in Carra. 

From Hir William's brother Philip, and Philip's son John, came 
the MacPhilpins who are found at Bellabourke and near Castlebar. 

The Clancowane division called Clancowane and Fertyr was given 
to a Barry, whose name survives in Castlebarry. This family gave 
the rectories of Turlough, Breaghvvy, and Kildacommoge to the 
family abbey of Kilnamullagh near Buttevant. By 1333 the fee had 
passed to the heir of Peter de Cogan. 

The further devolution of these two fees does not appear, but by 
some means they came into the hands of MacWilliam Bourke. We 
may accept MacFirbis's statement that Castlebar fell to Edmond na 
Fesoige, with so much of Carra as was not assigned to the families 
of his Ijrothers, Walter and Richard and John. His descendants 
increased i-apidly. 

His sons, Richard and Ulick, succeeding to the MacWilliamship, 
founded the two great families called Sliocht Ricaird and Sliocht 
Ulick. Castlebar remained in possession of the senior line, but 
Richard's son John founded the more numerous and powerful branch 
in Tirawley. 

Ulick was ancestor of Sliocht Ulick, which spread over Carra and 
into Burrishoole and Erris, having Ballynacarra as the chief castle. 

The MacDonnells of this barony owned the castles of Clooneen 
and Touaghty. Others lived at Manulla and at Keelogues. 

The castle and lands of Donamona belonged to a family of O'Kellys, 
whose ancestor is said to have settled there in the fifteenth century, 
as mentioned on p. 156. 

At the composition the barony is divided into nine cowrynes or 
divisions, exclusive' of church lauds, of nearly equal value, 21 and 22 
qrs., except Kinturk and Slewoney of 25 and 24 qrs., and two half 
cowrynes, and four still smaller denominations amounting to 22 qrs. 
They seem to have been laid out for some purpose of administration 
or survey, as they cannot, according to present information, be made 
to fit into a scheme of assignment of inheritance. 

The Earl of Ulster's rent of ^16, 13s. 4d. on the two Carra fees, 
the twenty-four bailies of MacWilliam's mensal lands in the Hist, 
et Gen., and MacWilliam's composition rent charge of £17, 6s. 8d. on 
twenty-four towns coincide so closely as to suggest that the latter 
are based on the original tenures acquired by MacWilliam, that 
these rents were assigned to the MacWilliamship, and the beneficial 
occupation to Edmond na Fesoige's family. 

Edmund Bourke of Castlebar had an annual rent of <£21, 6s. 8d. 
out of Clancowan, which would be in part his share of the profits of 
the MacWilliamship. 



Whex this country comes into history the family of Fiachra Folts- 
nathacli is settling over the early Domnonian tribes, of whose names 
only that of the Calry of Moyheleog has survived. The descendants 
of Fiachra's son Amalgaid, who gave it his name, spread over all 
this barony and Erris, except the parishes of Killala and Ballysakeery, 
occupied by the Hy Eachach of the Moy, descended from Eochaidh 
Breac, son of Dathi. 

Amalgaid, son of Fiachra Elgach, is said to have built Carnawley 
on Mullaghcarn near Killala, as a place for assemblies and fairs, and 
to have been buried there. Seventy years ago O'Donovan found that 
the earn on top of the hill had been nearly all removed, but not far 
from it, on the same hill, he found a monument " like an earthen 
fort with round stones of great size placed in a circle on its border. 
The internal diameter of this circle is about seventy-eight feet, and 
its external diameter is two hundred and forty feet." ^ The arrange- 
ment of the boulders marks it as a sepulchral or ceremonial rath, and 
it is perhaps the actual burying-place of this Fiachra, the earn, like 
Carnfree, being the place of inauguration. Oarnfree is likewise near 
a sepulchral mound called Duma Selca. 

Carn Amalgaid became one of the inauguration places of the King 
of Hy Fiachrach. It is recorded that if O'Dowda should be in 
Tirawley he may be inaugurated on Carn Amalgaid ; if he should be 
at Carn Ingine Bhriain he may be inaugurated there ; in either case he 
need not cross over (the Moy). Carn Ingine Bhriain has not been 
identified. Carn Amalgaid seems to have eventually superseded it, 
or possibly it was adopted after the conquest of the thirteenth cen- 
tury, when O'Dowda was confined to the barony of Tireragh. 

MacFirbis's tract on the Hy Fiachrach gives the names and situations 

of the families living in Tirawley and Erris who descended from King 

Amalgaid, son of Fiachra. Seven of his sons left descendants in 

Tirawley and Ei-ris : — 

Enda Crom 1 . ,^ , , ^ 

^ TTi- r in Moyheleog, Crossmolina. 

Uengus I<innJ •' °' 

Conall in Moyheleog. 

1 H.F., p. 443. 

289 „, 


Oengus in the Lagan, Kilbride, Doonfeeny, Ilathreagb. 

Eochaidh in Killardutf. 

Fergus in Caille Conaill, Bac, Glen Nepliin, Bredach. 

Fedelmid in Erris. 

The part of the county of Sligo lying south of the Bunree river, 
which was originally in this county, was occupied by O'Moran of 
Ardnarea as sub-chief under O'Caomain, whose lordship included all 
Coolcarney from Toomore, and Tireragh to the river Leaffony, 

None of Amalgaid, son of Fiachra's descendants attained to the 
chieftainship of the Hy Fiachi-ach. We do not find that they had a 
common chieftain, probably because the king of the whole tribe had 
three forts in the barony, whereby his influence was felt constantly. 

O'Lachtna, lord of Bac and Glen Nephin, was the greatest chieftain 
next after the king, and perhaps had been in some measure a general 
chief of the Hy Awley. His lordship comprised the parishes of 
Kilmoremoy west of the Moy, Ballynahaglish, Kilbelfad, Ardagh, 
Addergoole, and a small part of Ballysakeery, and perhaps a part of 
Moygawnagh, where some descendants of Fergus lived. The Abbey 
of Errew appears to have been the ecclesiastical head of his lordship, 
and to have owed its greatness to the connection with his tribe, and 
that of Killala to have owed its superior importance, whereby it 
became the seat of the bishopric, to its connection with O'Dowda. 

The MacFirbises were of the race of O'Lachtna. They lived first 
in Maghbroin, supposed to lie about Killybrone near Castlegore, and 
afterwards at Rosserk, and, after the O'Dowdas were turned out of 
Tirawley, at Lackan MacFirbis in Tireragh, where they built a castle. 
The MacFirbises were the chief ollavs and poets of O'Dowda. To 
them we are indebted for the great volume known as the Yellow 
Book of Lecan, for books of genealogies, and for the detailed accounts 
of the Hy Fiachrach from which this statement is drawn, and nearly 
all that we know of the early history of this barony and of Carra. 

O'Murray, chief of the Laggan, seems to have been next in 

The king of the Hy Fiachrach had his own forts at Inishcoe and 
Annagh on L. Con, and at Rathfran. 

At the Conquest Tirawley was considered to be two cantreds, one 
called Tirawley, the other called Bac and Glen. Tirawley was let to 
Nicholas Petit, who enfeoffed Adam Cusack of the whole or part, but 
the Petit tenure and the chief Cusack tenure had come into the 
Earl's hands by 13.33. The Petit tenure accounts for the grant of 
the rectories of Rathfran and Kilmoremoy and others to the Priory 
of Mullingar, which was in the Petit country. 

The transactions mentioned hereafter show that Bac and Glen had 
been let to a lord whose tenure had disappeared, so that Barrett and 


others held directly from the Earl in 1333. This chief lord was pi-o- 
bably Richard Carew. 

The Barretts were the principal colonists, and next after them the 

The Barretts came from Munster, where they have left their name 
to the barony of Barretts in Cork. I give MacFirbis's Genealogy of 
the Barretts of Tirawley ; it is certainly wrong in the early part, 
but may be right at or soon after Wattin, He says that William 
Finn may be the same as William Mor na Maigne, who is also called 
William Breathnach, and that the Welsh White Knight was William 
Finn's brother, showing that he had no authentic account of the 
family at that period. We cannot rely on the Irish genealogies 
alone for Anglo-Norman families until the fourteenth century, when 
they become accurate regarding important families. 

The English records enable us to identify William Mor na Maigne 
as the man who was killed at the battle of Kilroe. Na Maighne may 
mean " of the Wound," and this is the probable meaning. At his 
death he was tenant of the cantred of Bac and Glen and of at least 
part of Bredagh. 

The first mention of a Barrett in Connaught is in 1253, when Adam 
Petit recovered eleven vills in Bredagh from William Barrett, who 
had "called Richard Carew to warranty.^ Meddling with Bredagh 
perhaps cost him his life. The story is of interest as an illustration 
of the complexity of titles, conflict of obsolete and extant titles, and 
the consequent opportunities for a quarrel. 

In the year 1300 the Prior of Mullingar sued Elias of Dundonnell 
for the advowson of the church of Bredagh. Elias called the Earl of 
Ulster to warranty, and pleaded that Walter de Burgo gave to Elias's 
father, by a charter which he filed, ten vills in Bredagh to which the 
advowson belonged. The Earl pleaded that his great-grandfather, 
William de Burgo, being seised of the whole Theodum of Bredagh 
enfeoffed therein Nicholas le Petyt, who enfeoffed the Prior of the 
advowson, and afterwards enfeoffed Adam Cusack, senior, of the land. 
Thus the advowson was separated from the land. Afterwards William 
Barrett entered on the land, ejecting Adam, who gave ten vills to 
Richard de Burgo for maintaining him in the remainder. Walter de 
Burgo gave seven of the vills to Milo de Curcy with his sister, which 
Milo gave to Elias's father. Elias replied that Walter was seised 
of the advowson and claimed trial.^ The result does not appear. 

William de Bui^go's grant of Connaught never took effect. Adam 
Cusack's title from him was valueless, so must have been renewed 
by Richard de Burgo. In January 1299 the Earl of Ulster petitioned 

1 D.I., II., Nos. 292, 474. 

2 Plea Rolls, 30 Ed. I., R. 62, M. 14 D. 


the justiciary for seisin of the lands of which William Barrett was 
seised, which he held of the Earl in rapite, according to the sheriff's 
inquisition which had found that William held the cantred of the 
Bac and Glen by the service of 20 marks yearly, and two knights' 
fees, and doing suit at the Earl's court, and rendering 39 marks 
yearly to John Roche, and that the land was worth 20s. yearly beyond 
these charges. The land had been taken into the king's hand after 
the death of William in Adam Cusack's prison. The escheator re- 
ported that William held all his lands in Connaught of the Earl ; that 
he held also (irennach in Muscry of John de Cogan ; Fresketh [in 
Cork?] of Maurice Eochfort ; AUe of Peter Butler; Castelgeych of 
John de Barry ; Drumbolgyn of the Bishop of Ross ; Clardor of 
Maurice de Carew ; that William his heir was three years old at his 
father's death. Seisin was given to the Earl.^ 

Maurice, son of Richard de Carew, summoned William in 1300 to 
do suit and service which he owes to him for his freehold in Bac and 
Glen and Bredagh, i.e. homage and £4 when royal service runs, as 
heir of his father William. William admitted the claim, and seisin 
was ordered to be given to Maurice. - 

The tenant apparently held directly from two lords. The payment 
to a Roche shows some unexplained transactions. William Barrett 
certainly held Bac and Glen in fee. This cantred now comprised 
only the parishes of Ballynahaglish, Kilbelfad, and Addergoole or 

The Munster estates must have been large. Castelgogh, or 
Castelgeych, Manor comprised 7| knights' fees held by the service 
of two knights. He held also land at Tyberneyvin in Limerick 
from Maurice Eochfort, who seems to have been his chief lord, as 
William settled with him regarding his marriage, which was valued 
at £100. 

William senior is said to have built Caislen na Circe on the Tiraw- 
ley bank of the Moy opposite to Foxford, at which a small market 
town grew up. 

William na Maigne had a brother Robert, who survived him. 

After 1284 Batin, Thomas, Richard and his son William, and 
Philip Barrett are mentioned. From Batin the chief of the Barretts 
took the name of MacBhaitin. He must have been the principal 
Barrett in Tirawley. He had to pay a fine of £163, 18s. 8d. for 
peace, and Gilbert Lynet had to pay £33, 6s. 8d. Adam Bretuath 
paid £3, 6s. 8d. Batin must have had a very large estate to afford 
such a fine, which we may take to have been imposed for taking part 
in the battle of Kilroe. 

1 Cal. Just. Rolls, Irel , 1295-1.300. 

2 Plea Rolls, 28 Ed. I., R. 47, M. 13 D. 


Batin's estate was outside the cantred of Bac and Glen. We may 
take it to have been in the cantred of Tirawley. Ballysakeery was 
the castle of the MacWattin of the composition. Belleek was that of 
a branch of his family who divided their possessions with Walter 
Kittagh Bourke in 1584. 

Batin's son Robert succeeded him, was lord in 1335, and may have 
lived until 1365. In 1356 Robert was seneschal of Connaught. 

The Barretts broke up into several clans, some taking new sur- 
names : — 

1. Clann Andriu, who lived in the Bacs, descendants of a Sir 

2. Clann Toimin of Erris. 

3. Clan Philip or Philpin, descended from Philip or Philpin, grand- 
son of Toimin's brother. 

4. Clann Toimilin. 

5. Clan Ricin of Glen Nephin, descended from Ricin Og, son of 

6. Clann MecRoiberd, descended from the sou of William Mor na 
Maighne, whose inheritance is along the river Deel. 

The above is MacFirbis's account of these clans as he gives it in 
the Tract on the Hy Fiachrach. His authorities are at variance, 
and we cannot give much credit to what was based only on traditions 
of his day regarding clans of no great importance. The Barretts 
probably did as the Bourkes in the matter of taking new names, and 
on those grounds it is probable that the clans MacRobert, Toimin, 
Philip, Ricin are descendants of the Robei-t, Thomas, Philip, and 
Richard, who would have no claim on the inheritance of Batin. 
According to the pedigree, the clan Andrew did not come from Batin. 

A Mathew, son of Mathew Barrett, was extant in 1303, who may 
be the ancestor. 

In the sixteenth and early seventeenth century we find the Mac- 
Andrews holding much land in the Bacs, MacTomyn in Ballycroy, 
MacPhilips at Portnahally near Ballycastle and at Dookeeghan in 

One of the Barretts became chief lord of Erris at some time. 

MacFirbis failed to disentangle the traditions regarding the eaidiest 
Barretts, and worked them into a symmetrical genealogy from the 
uncertain William of Kilcommon, who had a brother called An Ridire 
Fionn, the Welsh White Knight. Breathnach comes in also as a 
name of William. The Barretts seem to have thrown off a clan 
which adopted Breathnach as a surname, translated again into Welsh. 
In 1407 a priest is described as " Maurice Bared alias Brechnach." 
I find evidence for a suspicion that the Carra Branaghs of Rosslahan 
may have been Barretts. 


" The Welsh Pauper," An Failgliech Bieatlmach, is made a brother 
of Batin, and a grandson of William Mor na Maighne. That the 
Failghech was Batin's brother is very likely to be correct, but he has 
put them too late. The Failghech and Thomas Barrett were killed at 
Coin Berrain in 1260 (L.C.). The Failghech left sons who held a good 
position ; it is recorded that Felim O'Conor plundered them and took 
Richard himself prisoner in 1316 (L.O.). The Clann an Fhailghigh 
disappears from history until we find the Clannenallies mentioned in 
1588, and some families called MacEiially among the small freeholders 
of Carra and Kilmaine in the early seventeenth century. 

Seeing the uncertainty of this genealogy, I am still inclined to 
think that the Irish used An Failghech as a translation of Le Poher, 
supposing it to be the French Le Paurre. Some of the names in the 
pedigree are very unusual. 

On the whole, we cannot be sure of more than that several Barretts 
came from Munster soon after the Conquest and settled in Tirawley. 

The Cusacks. 

According to MacFirbis, Adam Cusack built the castle of Meelick. 
Adam Cusack, junior, the victor at Kilroe, owned also the manor of 
Cuilcnama, the parishes of Skreen and Dromard. He died by 1297, 
leaving only daughters. One of his daughters surrendered Cuilcnama 
to the Earl of Ulster. We have no particulars of Adam Cusack 's 
Tirawley estate, but it must have been large. Rathreagh was pro- 
bably in it, as it was once known also as Cusackstown. Though the 
great estate ceased to be held by a Cusack, the memory survived, so 
that in the Division of Connaught the barony of Moyne is described 
as containing " Tirawley and the Cusacks' country." 

A junior branch of the family survived. In the beginning of the 
seventeenth century Robert Cusack owned the castle and lands of 
Ross, together with other lands in the parishes of Killala and Bally- 

The Carews. 

A branch of this great family also survived. One of them was of 
sufficient importance to be a party to the Indenture of Composition. 
His castle of Dunmacnyny has not been identified. His family are 
later found in possession of Cloonawillin in Ballysakeery, and other 
lands not identified. 

The Lynotts. 

Gilbert de Lynet was of sufficient importance to be Sheriff of Con- 
naught from 1287 to 1289. The family appear again as owners of 


half the castle and lands of Oarn — the other half owned by Carews — 
and of the lands of Kincon, Ellagh, and Seehaunmore in Kilfian. 

The Merricks. 

Some of this family survived in possession of a small freehold at 
Ballyteige in Glenhest, which takes its name fi'om Hosty, whose 
descendants in the barony of Dunmore are the MacCostys. 

The De Exeters. 

A branch of this family called Clan Stephen settled at Rathfran, 
where the monastery was founded by one of the de Exeters in 1274, 
who probably came in as tenant of another lord of his own family, as 
the estate held by this family at Rathfran in the sixteenth century 
was small. This family is dealt with at length in Gallen. 

The Lawlesses and Cogans. 

MacFirbis says that Sir William Lawless had the country of Caille 
Oonaill. There is some doubtful evidence of a Lawless connection 
with Ballycastle. 

There is reason to suspect that a de Barry owned a fee about 
Crossmolina, as we find that the Augustinian monastery of Ballybeg, 
near Buttevant, a de Barry house, owned the rectory of Crossmolina. 
In 1306, John, son of William de Rathcogan, Walter de Usser, 
and Walter de Cogan were indicted for robbing the abbot of the 
monastery of Crossmolina. Rathcogan is a name of Charleville, 
which was in the Cogan estate in the county of Cork. We may 
suspect that an estate hereabouts passed like Castlebar from a 
de Barry to a Cogan. 

The Berminghams. 

This great family comes into the barony because Ardnarea was 
within it as originally laid out. But none of the family settled 
permanently. At or soon after the Conquest, Peter de Bermingham 
held the manors of Ardnarea and Castleconor. The former was the 
parish of Ardnarea or Kilmoremoy in Sligo. The latter extended 
north from it so as to include a great part or whole of Easky parish. 
The original grant may have been of all Tireragh, which was called 
by the Irish MacFheorais's country. It is afterwards found broken 
up. There were many transactions regarding lands in those days, 
and we know that Cuilcnama was surrendered to the Earl of Ulster, 
and there are indications that some de Berminghams had an interest 
therein superior to that of Adam Cusack. 

Within the next fifty years Ardnarea belonged to Peter, son of 


Meiler Bermin^'liam, and Castleconor to his cousin Peter, son of 
James. But under this Peter an Andrew Bermingham seems to 
have held the manor, whose daughter and heiress, being married to 
Stephen Le Poer, conveyed her rights to Eustace Le Poer, a great 
baron of Munster, who had a large estate in the south of Galway. 
His family did not settle. Under him a Martin Taaf held a great 
part of the manor. In a settlement of claims regarding Andrew's 
inheritance, Castleconor was let to Eustace Le Poer at a nominal 

No more is known regarding their devolution until they appear in 
the possession of the Bourkes, who lost Castleconor and retained 
Ardnarea, which was bounded on the north by the Bunree river 
when the county bounds were laid down. 

If we suppose that Sir Edmond Albanagh or his father had acquired 
the Bermingham or Le Poer rights, and that O'Dowda had acquired 
the Taaf or Le Poer rights when the Taafs retired, we can understand 
that there were grounds for conflicting claims between MacWilliams 
and O'Dowdas Avhicli led to wars, and that Cathal Duff's payment of 
five marks yearly to MacWilliam, as recorded in the Hist, et Gen., 
may have been a recognition of ancient right, and not submission to 
arbitrary oppression. 

The thirteenth and fourteenth century records show a good many 
names of colonists in Tirawley whose position is not ascertained. It 
is evident that there was a large English population then. But all 
have disappeared save those who have been noted above, who are 
far more families of the early colonists than have survived in other 

The Period of the MacWilliamship. 

The death of William Saxonagh at Iniscoe in 1368, and his grand- 
son's attack on Bishop BaiTett in 1396, and the existence of a 
Redmond Bourke who described himself as of Iniscoe in 1452, 
afford ground for supposing that Sir Edmond Albanagh, having 
acquired the de Barry or de Cogan rights over Crossmolina to- 
gether with Castlebar, settled his son and his family there, and 
that the long quarrel between the Bourkes and the Barretts may 
date from that affray, to end only with the agreement regarding 
Belleek in 1584. We have no glimpse of the cause of quarrel. But 
if Sir William Liath or his sons bought rights or took tenures from 
the absentee lords and made them effective, we have the conditions 
needed for a crop of quarrels which must be settled by sword and 
spear in absence of the courts of the earl and the king. 

When those courts disappeared, and most of the smaller colonists 
and farmers fled from disorder and oppression, the head of the 
Barretts was the greatest lord in Tirawley, and might count on 


general support from the other resident lords, whose independence 
was equally threatened by MacWilliam's claims. 

A picturesque tradition, handed down to us as it was told in 
D. MacFirbis's time, tells precisely how the Bourkes came to spread 
all over Tirawley. 

The Lynotts murdered the Barretts' steward who came to collect 
their rents, and threw his body into a well near Carn Castle, after- 
wards called Tubberscorney from his nickname. The Barretts captured 
the Lynotts and blinded them, testing the thoroughness of the blinding 
by making them cross the stepping-stones, called from them Clochan 
na ndall, near the castle. Any one who crossed withovit stumbling 
was blinded again. 

To strengthen themselves against the Barretts, the Lynotts got 
Teaboid Mael Bourke as a foster-son, said to have been a son of 
Sir Edmond Albanagh. This foster-son was killed by the Barretts 
at the stream at Cornasack on the road to Ballycastle. 

As an ei'ic the Barretts gave up to the Bourkes eighteen quarters 
of land, Teaboid's foster-father took as his share of the eric the 
assignment of the quarters, and chose them throvighout Tirawley, 
that the Bourkes might plague the Barretts everywhere. 

This last item seems to be the Belleek agreement, whereby about 
eighteen quarters were given up. The other facts are likely to be 
separately true — the murder of the steward and the punishment of 
the Lynotts ; the alliance of Lynotts with Bourkes ; the killing of 
Teaboid by Barretts — all brought together to account for the mixture 
of clans, contrary to the usual practice of each clan having a separate 
defined territory. 

MacDonnells were settled at Rathlacken, Ballycastle, Ballinglen, 
Ballykinlettragh, and Cloonenass. Most of them were of a family 
called the clan of Aedh Buidhe. 

The Bourkes of Tirawley, so far as they have been traced, were all 
of the Sliocht Ricaird, descendants of John, son of Ricard O'Cuairsci, 
except that the Bourkes of Turlough had the castle of Addergoole and 
some lands there and about Levally and Bogadoon, and the descendants 
of David Ban had a small estate. 

MacWilliam's rent charge of <£40 on 160 quarters in the composition 
is so close to the sum allowed on 164i quarters scattered through 
Tirawley, that they must be the same assessment ; and they are both 
so close to the Earl of Ulster's rents of 1333, that there can be little 
doubt that they are the survival of the Eai-l's rents but slightly 

As. in Carra, so here the cowrines seem to have been of the nature 
of survey divisions, not, as far as we know, representing estates or 
minor chiefries. 



Erris, lorrus larthar, or Western District, was the inheritance of the 
Cinel Fedhlimidh branch of the Hy Fiachrach. Their chieftain was 
O'Caithniadh, whose death is recorded in the Annals under the years 
1180, 1206, and 1274. He had three sub-chiefs — O'Callaghan, 
O'Muimhneachain (now called Minahan), and MacCoinin (which is 
anglicised in various ways). Dumha Oaechain was the fort of the 
king of the Hy Fiachrach in this country. 

In the middle of the thirteenth century, the Clan Murtough 
Mweenagh were in this country up to their expulsion in 1274. The 
country as a whole is next found to be held under the de Burgo lord 
by Jordan de Exeter. 

From the Plea Rolls we learn that John Butler, who died leaving 
a son Henry who was under age in 1306, held the manor of Ballycroy 
from Jordan de Exeter by knight-service, namely, by half a mark of 
royal service when scutage runs, and by a yearly rent of <£1, 16s. 8d. 
From the Justiciary Rolls we learn that when Adam Flemyng was 
killed in the battle of Kilroe fighting against Adam Cusack, his lands 
of Kildarvila, Kilcommon, Killannan, and Caher were taken into the 
king's hands by order of the justiciar. From these denominations 
we may infer that he held a great part of Erris. 

The widow of Stephen, son of Stephen de Exeter, claimed dower in 
his manor of Dookeeghan in 1320. 

The history of Erris is a blank until the close of the sixteenth 
century, when it is mentioned as the barony of Invermore, and is in 
possession of Barretts and Bourkes. The Barretts appear to have 
acquired the lordship of the whole, MacWattin being called chief 
therein. The Bourke intrusion into Tiran and an estate thereabouts 
appears to have been of recent date, when the family first appears in 
Erris. Upon what claim they came in does not appear. The Clan- 
william had power to enforce any claim which one of the family might 
acquire against any Barrett. The Barretts styled them forcible 

The Butler title to Ballycroy came to the hands of the Earl of 
Ormond by some means, and was made effective with the re- 



stoi-ation of English law. MacToimin and Barretts were tenants 

At the time of the composition, Edmond Barrett of the castle of 
Dowlagh was head of the Erris family. His sons Edmond and 
Richard were brought up in England, and were attached to the 
household of Lord Essex in 1594. Edmond did good service in the 
wars as captain of a company, and received grants of abbey lands 
and of forfeited estates, and a pension in respect of his wounds and 



TiiK baiony owes its form to the tenures of the sixteenth century, 
which owed their form to those of the thirteenth ;ind fourteenth 
centuries as settled by the de Burgo lords of Connaiight, which again 
depended largely on the existing thirteenth-century (Jaelic territorial 
divisions in accordance with tribal occupation. Up to that time it is 
only part of the kingdom of Umall. The Clan Murtougli Mweenagh 
settled upon the O'Malleys in the thirteenth century. The kingdom 
of Umall became the de Burgo cantred of Owyll, and was' split into 
several fees when wo get details for the first time in 1333. 

We first find Henry Butler in possession, who has a castle at 
Tyrenmore, and has established there a small town called by the Irish 
Burgheis Cinn Trachta, now known as Burrishoole. The estate was a 
little more than the parish of liurrishoole, which was called Leath 
Fherghuis, Fergus's half, whence we may infer that O'Fergus, head 
of one of the three great divisions of Clann Maille, held it as a 
chiefry. The Norman grants of large fees followed existing known 

Clan Murtough remained in Umall under the liutlers until their 
rising in 1272 led to their expulsion. 

John ' Butler held Owyll Butler in 1333. The liutlers do not 
appear again until the close of the sixteenth century, when Lord 
Ormond's title is acknowledged to this estate and to that of Ballycroy. 
By unknown means the right of the descendants of Henry Butler 
passed to the earls, who made their title efTective when English law 
became so again. 

There is indication that the earls got no rents from the estate in 
the interval, that their rights were in abeyance, that the Bourkes and 
O'lNIalleys treated the country as their own, perhaps acknowk'dging a 
bare ownership. The O'Malleys were in Achill. The Bourkes of 
Sliocht Ulick had the rest of the estate under MacWilliam in respect 
of his chieftainship. 

The barony was made up of this estate and of those of the Bourkes 
of Sliocht Ulick, the MacPliilpins, JNlacTibbot, MacMeyler, Mac- 
Daibheog Boy, MacWalter Boy, some minor estates, and the Arch- 
bishop's Aghagower estate. These clans are given in the genealogical 


tables except Sliocht Walter Boy of unknown origin. Thus the 
eastern boundary is not the same as that of Umall, but includes parts 
of the parish of Islandeady. 

Those of Clan Philpin and MacTibbot seem to be the freeholds of 
the fourteenth century. 

The Sliocht Ulick Bourkes had castles at Newport, then called 
Bally veghan, and Rockfleet and Burrishoole. 

The MacPhilpins had the castles of Aille and Aghle and Doon 
in this barony, and those of Bellabourke and the New Castle near 
Castlebar in Carra. 

MacTibbot had the castle of Moyour, now called Castleaffy. 

This estate may be taken to represent that which William of Umall 
held in 1333. 

The MacMeylers seem to have been tenants of other freeholders, 
and were very few. Some are described as of Kilmaclasser. 

Sliocht MicDaibheog Buidhe were a branch of the Clan Gibbon. 
Three of the name of M'Cavoke Boy are described as of Rosscleave, 
which was within the Butler estate. The Sliocht Walter Buidhe are 
perhaps of the same clan, but there is nothing to indicate their dwell- 
ing-place. Both of these clans are named in the composition as liable 
to a rent charge for Mac William. 

The Clan Gibbon had little land of their own in this barony. They 
had Ballyknock Castle and lands, and were chiefly tenants under the 
Archbishop and others. 

A family of MacDonnells called Clanrannell were settled in the 
castle of Cai-rickenedy and at Clogher. 

These were the only freeholders of importance. 

Rockfleet, in itself a poor little tower, deserves notice as the only 
castle known to have been the dwelling-place of Grainne ni -Mhaille. 
In early youth she may have lived with her father in any of the 
O'Malley castles, and after marriage she lived in her husband's castles. 
After Sir R. Bourke's death she settled in this tower within the 
country where her son-in-law, Richard Bourke the Devil's Hook's son, 
was chief. 

A lawsuit relating to the manor of Aghagower shows the difliculties 
arising from coexistence of English and Brehon Law.^ 

John Stanton and his wife Joan sued Archbishop William Berming- 
ham for two parts of that manor as the inheritance of Joan, whereof 
the Archbishop dispossessed Mathew Magelaghy, brother of Joan, who 
is his heiress. 

The Archbishop replies that he need not answer Joan, because she 
is an Irishwoman and is not of the five families entitled to use 
English law. 

1 Cal. Plea Rolls, 25 Ed. I., R. 38, M. 21. 


Tliey reply that he must answer, because his predecessor, Ai'chbishop 
Marianus,! enfeoifed Benyach Macgreathey,- with assent of his 
chapter. After death of Benyach, Adam, his son and heir, being a 
minor, was a ward of the king during vacancy of Tuam, and after 
Thomas O'Connor was made Archbishop, Thomas took homage of 
Adam, being of full age. After Adam's death, Mathew was a minor 
and was in custody of Archbishop Stephen Fulebourne, to whom 
Mathew did homage, and suit and service at the Court of Archbishop 
William, of which Mathew Joan is heiress. 

They say that the charter of enfeoffment was burnt at Athlethan 
and can be proved. The Archbishop replies that she cannot prove 
it, because she is an Irishwoman. A day is given for judgment. The 
decision is not enrolled. 

The provisions of the Treaty of Windsor in 1175, preserving to the 
Irish the use of their own customs, might have worked fairly well if 
English manors had been inhabited only by the English, and Irish 
lands only by the Irish. These pleas show the incompatibility of the 
two systems. Two questions were raised here — Were the archbishops 
debarred from pleading that Joan is an Irishwoman by having treated 
her brother, father, and grandfather as Englishmen ? and can an Irish- 
woman prove a lost document by secondai-y evidence when it is neces- 
sary to establish her right to English la\v ? But the second question 
may not have been in issue, as the Archbishop's plea may have been 
intended as a general denial of the right claimed. 

If she failed to establish English light, the King's Court would 
have dismissed the suit for want of jurisdiction, without pronouncing 
on the claim. She would have been left to her Irish law for redress. 
It would have given her none. The Archbishop would not have sub- 
mitted himself to a Brehon's judgment voluntarily, and there was no 
force behind a Brehon to compel submission. It shows where Irish 
laws failed. 

The plea shows also that Irish archbishops let out see lands to 
middlemen in large holdings. If the name is MacOirechtaigh, we 
see that the old comarb lands were let out to the Airchinnechs. 

^ O'Lachtnain, who died in 1249. 

- Benedict Mageraghty (see a.d. 1247). 



This barony is the country in which O'Malley was chief when 
baronies were laid out. With Burrishoole it forms the kingdom of 
Aicill and Umall, which comes into history at the battle of Moy 

Aicill seems to be a descriptive term applied to mountainous 
country. Umall means low, and applies in this sense to the country 
lying east of Clew Bay, as Aicill applies to the parts lying north and 
south of the bay. The title may be translated as King of Highland 
and Lowland. Aicill survives in Achill Island and Ourraun Achill. 
The term was applied to the country between Clew Bay and the 
Killeries in the thirteenth century. 

Though at all times an independent kingdom acknowledging supre- 
macy of only the King of Connaught, it was too small to play an 
independent part, and therefore is rarely mentioned in the Annals. 

The earliest chieftains were families of the Clann Umoir. Clann 
Maille probably descended from one of them, but were tacked on 
to Brian Orbsen by the genealogists, and were known as Hy Briuin 
Umaill. The early part of the pedigree of O'Malley is not trust- 
worthy. Seven generations will not fill the space between Brian 
Orbsen and Flannabhra, who died in 773, the first lord of Umall 
mentioned in the Annals. A couple more are missing between him 
and Domnall Ruadh. 

Clann Maille were renowned as seamen in eaidy times. The entries 
in the Annals and the sixteenth-century State Papers show how they 
maintained their renown. 

(F.M.) 1384. A meeting took place between O'Flaherty and 
O'Malley, but a quarrel arose between them, in which Owen O'Malley, 
Cormac O'Malley (i.e. Cormac Cruinn), and many others besides these 
were slain by the people of O'Flaherty. 

1396. Melaghlin, son of Conor O'Malley, and a son of Theobald 
of the Kerne, one of the Clanrickard, went with a ship to plunder in 
Connemara. They killed a grandson of Cathal Boy O'Flaherty, and 
filled their ship with spoils, but the ship was wrecked between Aran 
and the mainland, and all, thirty-three in number, or all but one, 
were drowned. 



1413. Tuathal O'Malley had been serving in Ulster as a soldier 
for a year. He was going home with seven ships, when a storm 
drove them to Scothmd about tlie feast of St. Columcille, when six 
of the ships were wrecked and the crews drowned, upwards of 240. 
Some MacSweenys were with him. 

1415. O'Malley, Hugh, plundered Dermot O'Malley. Dermot 
took O'Malley's island. A battle ensued, in which Hugh and his 
son Conor were killed, and Dermot's son Donnell and a son of Thomas 
O'Malley. The sovereignty now passed from Hugh's descendants, 
and Dermot became king. 

1427. Hugh O'Malley, son of Dermot, heir to the lordship, went 
with a fleet to Tirconnell, and was slain in retiring to his ships. 

(D.F.) 1460. Donnell, son of Dermot O'Malley, and William and 
John O'Malley joined O'Brien's sons in an attack by sea on Corco- 
vaskin against MacMahon. They were driven back to their ships, 
and the three O'Malleys were slain befoi-e they reached them, and 
many of their men were killed. 

(A.XJ.) 1513. Eoghan O'Maille went to Killybegs with three ships 
when the nobles of the country were absent on a rising out. They 
burnt the town and took many prisoners. A storm prevented them 
fi'om embarking, and they had to wait near their ships. A young 
MacSweeuy boy and some O'Gallaghers collected some idlers and 
farm hands and rushed on them. They slew Eoghan and five or six 
score of his men, rescued the prisoners, and took two ships. 

(L.C.) 1524. Cormac O'Malley's son Dermot was killed while help- 
ing O'Conor Kerry in a raid into Duhallow. 

1560. Tuathal O'Malley joined an O'Brien of Aran in an expedi- 
tion against Desmond. On their return the ship was wrecked at 
Invermore. Only O'Brien and three men escaped. 

1568. John na Seoltadh, son of Donnell O'Malley, went with 
a long ship to pay a visit to MacMaurice of Kerry at Lixnaw. 
MacSweeny, a constable of Gallowglasses, was also there on a visit, 
with only fifty of his men, after his engagement with MacMaurice 
had ended. James FitzGerald, who had charge of Lord Desmond's 
estate, came against Lixnaw in gieat force. The visitors stood by 
MacMaurice, and advised to attack the enemy. He did so, and de- 
feated them with great loss. 

1583. Some O'Malleys went to Ulster and killed Donogh O'Boyle 
on Iniscaoil in Gweebarra Bay. 

1594. In July some O'Malleys of the Out Isles plundered the 
shore of MacSweeny Banagh's country. 

We must regret that the Irish writers have not recorded the 
exploits which earned for Grainne ni Mhaille so great a name among 
her Irish and English contemporaries. 


The following collection of obits shows that the O'Malleys fought a 
good deal with each other : — 

(F.M.) 1094. Gilla na ninghen Ua Cobhthaigh, King of Umhall, 
Airchinnech of Aghagower, was killed by the men of Carra. 1176. 
Donnell O'Malley, Lord of Umhall, died. 1220. Dubhdara, son of 
Muredhach O'Malley, was killed by Cathal Ci'ovdeig. 1235. Donnell 
and Murtough, sons of Muredhach O'Malley, were killed by O'Conors. 
(L.C.) 1337. Donnell Ruadh and his son Cormac were killed by 
Merricks. 1361. Tuathal died. 1362. Owen and his son Dermot 
died. 1401. Donnell, the king, died. 1408. Cormac O'Malley was 
killed by his brother. (A.U.) 1416. Tuathal was killed by the sons 
of his brother Dubhgall. (L.C.) 1429. Melaghlin, heir to the lord- 
ship, was slain by the sons of O'Malley. (D.F.) 14S0. Brian 
O'Malley was slain by his brother Hvigh, son of Teige, in a dispute. 
(L.C.) 1467. O'Malley, i.e. Tadhg, son of Dermot, died. 

But one fight with Bourkes is recorded. In 1378 the O'Malleys 
killed Walter, son of William. 

The principal dwelling of the kings was at or near Belclare from 
very early times. The castle of Belclare, near the modern house, 
may be taken to have been the successor of the fort called Cruachan 
of Aigill, if it was not on the site of the Dun. Cruachan had the 
meaning of a king's fort, and we have evidence that this Cruachan 
was in that neighbourhood in the record of St. Patrick's visit to 
Cruachan of Aigill, which was under the Hill of Aigill, now called 
Croaghpatrick. The old church of Cloonpatrick represents the Patri- 
cian foundation. 

O'Malley was the only Gaelic chieftain of Mayo who retained his 
rank until the extinction of the title. He appears as a tenant of the 
Earl of Ulster in 1333. He must have acquired the Lawless and 
Knappagh estates of that time, which, with some see lands, and 
perhaps some land not let out for money rent, covered the barony 
of Murrisk. We can take O'Malley's towns to have been about 
Belclare and in the east, and the Lawless estate to have been towards 
the west, because John Sturmyn sued Maurice Lawless and his wife 
for warranty of the Isles of Inishboffin and Inishark.^ This also 
shows, what we would not have supposed likely, that Englishmen 
were then able to get enough profit out of those isles to make them 
worth litigation. 

O'Malley owed no rent to Mac William, only a rising out. He was 
so hemmed in by the Bourkes as to be necessarily dependent on 
Mac William, and especially on his nearest neighbours, the Sliocht 

The MacGibbons had no separate clan lands, were freeholders 
1 Cal. Plea Rolls, 9 Edw. I., R. 7. 



under O'Malley or tenants under other freeholders, and dwelt chiefly 
in the east and round by the south to Aillemore. The MacGibbon 
estate in Knappagh may have dated from the fourteenth century, 
but all who dwelt within the barony held under O'Malley in the 
sixteenth century, except the tenants of the ecclesiastical lands. 

The O'Malleys alone possessed castles. That of Belclare, and 
perhaps more, went with the chieftainship. The other castles were 
at Caher na Mart, one near Louisburgh, now named Crania's Castle 
on the maps, Clare Island, and Inishboflin. Clare Island castle alone 
remains. The family occupied Kildavnet Castle in Achill. 

The composition describes O'Malley's country as consisting of two 
divisions of thirty-six quarters each, called Lorge Owle O'Mayle and 
Ilane ne Moghere. If the former be meant for Lurg Umhaill O'Maille, 
it means "End of O'Malley's TJmhall," and describes the western 
half of the country and the great islands. 

Ilane ne Moghere is the small island in Moher Lake on which are 
traces of stone building. It must have been a place of note, or it 
would not have given a name to half the chiefry. We may take it 
to have been O'Malley's principal crannoge and place of safety for 
his valuables in troublous times ; it may be O'Malley's island which 
Dermot took in 1415. 



This barony is the lordship of MacJordan de Exeter, which was the 
western part of O'Gadhra's kingdom called Gailenga, whereof the 
eastern part was Sliabh Lugha. The barony boundary follows parish 
boundaries, except where a part of the scattered parish of Kilda- 
commoge is split. 

Coolcarney came into O'Gadhra's kingdom before the de Burgo 
conquest, having been previously under the lordship of O'Caomhain. 
Its inhabitants were then of the Oalry race. In the thirteenth and 
fourteenth centuries some families of Clan Donogh O'Dowda settled 
there, whence arose an objection to the county boundaries as first laid 
down, the county of Sligo claiming Coolcarney as lying jDroperly 
within its bounds, which were intended to include all the families 
which acknowledged O'Dowda as their head. But their landlord Avas 
MacJordan, O'Dowda being only a tribe-lord. 

Ko more is known of the early history of this territory than what 
has been given elsewhere. 

Hugh de Lacy was R. de Burgo's grantee of this cantred, which he 
soon transferred to Jordan de Exeter or his father, but Jordan is the 
first person who is known to have been in actual occupation. Jordan 
is first mentioned in a grant of 1239-40, by which Maurice Fitz- 
Gerald conveyed to him part of the barony of Leyny, which he 
afterwards surrendered. 

In 1250 the king gave him twenty-five marks yearly in reward of 
services vmtil he should be given waste lands worth ^£20 a year, which 
were given about the parish of Killallaghtan in Galway, to be held 
by the service of one knight. 

He was killed in 1258 while Sheriff of Connaught. 

To him we must attribute the building of the castle of Ballylahan, 
the only thirteenth-century castle in Mayo whose plan can be made 
out. It stands on a spur of high ground overlooking Athlethan, the 
Broad Ford, having a gate-tower as princij)al dwelling, and a wall 
with flanking towers following the crest of the ground, enclosing an 
irregularly shaped court. 

He founded the Dominican Friary at Strade in 1253. According 
to the Registry of the Dominican house of Athenry, he had pre- 


viously put Franciscans there, but turned them out at instance of his 
wife, Basilia, dau«,'hter of jNIeyler de Bermingham. 

He was succeeded in this lordship by his son Meiler, who was 
killed in 1289, and he by his son Meiler, who was killed in 1317, 
whose heir was his uncle Jordan. 

This Jordan was active in Connaught, was sheriff in 1269 and 
asrain in 1279, and was constable of Roscommon Castle in 1280. He 
is found in possession of the cantred of Erris. At the close of the 
century he held from the king the barony of Athmethan, in Co. 
Waterford, at a rent of =£20, 13s. 4d. He died about 1319, leaving 
a widow, Barnaba. His son John was lord of Athlethan in 1335. 
In 1302 he is named with his wife Ismania, who seems to have been 
heiress of a Christophre. Their son Jordan Bacach seems to have 
claimed lands in Cork through Ismania. ^ 

This Jordan Bacach does not appear in Connaught history. It may 
be inferred that he succeeded to his father's Munster estate, and 
John to the Connaught estate, and that his descendants recorded by 
MacFirbis were a junior branch. 

The relationship of the branches of the de Exeter family extant in 
the thirteenth century are obscure, but the family was rich and of 
high rank. 

Internal evidence suggests that the Annals called " of Multifarn- 
ham " were written at Strade by Brother Stephen de Exeter. They 
close in 1274, when a monastery was founded at Rathfran, where the 
author may have gone. They record the death of John de Exeter in 
1261 ; of Eva, Richard's first wife, in 1262 ; of Mabilia, his second 
wife, in 1264 ; his marriage to Ysemain, daughter of David de Pren- 
dergast, in 1269 ; the birth of her son John in 1270 ; and the succes- 
sion of Richard to the place of the Justiciary. These Annals ignore 
Jordan and his line. The Irish Annals ignore Richard's line. The 
John who died in 1261 was probably Richard's father. 

Sir Richard was Chief Justice of the Common Pleas in 1273 ; con- 
stable of the castles of Roscommon and Randown in 1282-84 ; and 
was killed in battle in Thomond in 1287. He acquired a large estate 
in Roscommon, where he built a castle at Athleague. 

He was succeeded by his son. Sir Richard, who became Chief 
Justice of the Common Pleas, and was keeper of the castles of Ros- 
common and Randown in 1302 and 1304. He was Sheriff of Ros- 
common in 1292 and in 1302. He died in 1327. His son Simon, 
who had been a justice, became Chief Justice of the Common Pleas 
in 1335. His son Richard owned the manor of Derver in 1347. 

A conveyancing transaction, for which no reason is given, intended 
probably to clear title, shows the estates of Sir Richard in 1305. 
1 Cal. Justiciary Rolls. 


He transfers by several deeds all his lands held of the king to 
Nicholas de Exeter, a priest. The king conj&rms the transfer on 
the 20th May. Nicholas transfers them back to Sir llichard. The 
king confirms on the 30th June. Like transactions take place in 
respect of lands not held in capite} 

He held in capite in Meath the manors of Staghcallan, Carrig, 
Listathell, Bryaneston, Crowenbeg, and Rathslyberaght, messuages 
and lands, and =£21, 9s. 4d. rents in Rathbranna, Donneyvin, Imelagh- 
began, and le Newenhagard near Trim ; the manors of Derver and 
Corbally ; in Roscommon, the Athleague estate.^ 

From the lords of the fees he held the manors of Bellaghlysconan 
and Lynne, and houses and lands, and 40s. rents, and the manors of 
Baronnyston and Phelipyston de Nugent in Louth. The last two 
manors seem to have been held in right of his wife, Elizabeth. In 
Roscommon he had lands and houses in Roscommon and in the Ii'ish 
town of Roscommon, and 5| villatas of land. 

The family must have held a very high position in Meath, whence 
we may infer that Jordan and Stephen were junior members of that 

MacFirbis derives Clan Stephen from Jordan Og, but there was 
another earlier and more important line of Stephens connected with 

Stephen, son of Stephen, and Johanna, widow of Stephen, filed suits 
against R. Fleming at Dublin in 1280. In 1290 Sir Stephen acted 
in Meath inquisitions, and is mentioned in 1302 with his son S.^ 

Stephen was killed at Athleth'an in 1316, called lord of the place 
in the Annals of Ulster, bub in the Hid. et Gen. chief of his nation, 
which would apply to Sir Stephen if he was not a grandson of 
Jordan Mor. It is, indeed, not improbable that Jordan was a younger 
son of the family of which Sir Stephen was the head. Meiler was 
killed in 1317. In 1318 Matilda, widow of Stephen, son of Stephen, 
sued for dower in the manors of Moyrathir, Dawathlethren, Dowath- 
myl . . . , and in the manor of Duffathkeeghan in Urrus.^ Only 
the last is identified as Dunkeeghan in Erris. At the same time, 
the Pipe Rolls mention the estate of the late Stephen, son of Stephen, 
in Athmethan, and state that Meiler, son of Meiler, had the ward- 
ship of the lands in Connaught which Stephen held in capite during 
nonage of the heir, whose name is not given, and that Meiler having 
died, his uncle Jordan was his heir. I find nothing to show what 
lands Stephen held in capite in Connaught. They must have been in 
the king's cantreds. 

Sir Stephen, therefore, was a man of high position, in close rela- 

1 P.K., 83 Ed. I. 2 E,s.A.I.. 1903, p. 2i0. 

3 P.K., 8 Ed. I., and D.I. * P.R., 13 Ed. II. 


tions with the race of Jordan by occupation of lands in Mayo and 
Waterford. He and Jordan Og were heads of two independent 
branches, and he was recognised by the Irish as the head of a family. 
It is therefore probable that his father is the Stephen from whom 
MacStephen sprang, and that he had a position analogous to that of 
MacSeonin, holding an estate by a title independent of that of 
Jordan de Exeter. The position of the three castles of Clan Stephen 
in a part of a parish divided arbitrarily from the barony of Carra 
raises a suspicion that the MacStephen estate was originally in 
Carra, and that MacStephen transferred his allegiance to his kins- 
man of Gallen in the fourteenth century. 

This case of Sir Stephen shows, what appears clearly in the Plea 
Rolls, that in King Edward I.'s time law was so well established in 
these parts that a Meath family could profitably hold remote manors 
in Eriis and Waterford. 

To his father we may with most probability assign the foundation of 
Eathfran Abbey, though there is no record of his connection with it, 
and it may have been founded by Joi'dan Og. A Thomas de Exeter 
is found at Rathfran in 1577 (13 D.K. 3081). The family had an 
estate there in the seventeenth century. It alone retained the name 
of de Exeter in the sixteenth century, the other branches using Irish 
surnames, as MacJordan and MacStephen. We must hold MacFirbis's 
descent of this family from Jordan Og to be doubtful. 

The MacJordans were not always on good terms with the Mac- 
Williams. The hostility resulted in a settlement made by Sir IST. 
Malbie, whereby Mac William's chieftain rights were commuted for 
money rent, reducing occasions of quarrel. Though this settlement 
is not recorded in the State Papers, it has support from Sir N.'s 
dealings with MacJordan in his early compositions. 

In the beginning of the seventeenth century MacJordan sold to 
Theobald Dillon his heritable rights. 

The following entries appear in the Annals after 1320 : — 

(L.C.) 1336. Meyler MacJordan de Exeter died. 1355. Stephen 
was killed. (F.M.) MacJordan, lord of Athlethan, and John were 
killed. Here we must refer to the calendar of the Patent Rolls, 
4 Rich. II,, wherein it appears that the Bishop of Clonmacnoise as 
Sheriff of Connaught reported that John, son of John, is heir of 
Meiler de Exeter deceased, and is under age. This must be the 
Meiler who was killed in 1380 ; it is most unlikely that any other 
family is referred to. If so, the genealogy requires reconstruction. 
We should make 5 (1) John to be a son of 4 (2) John, taking him to 
be the heir of 1381. The Bishop would follow the English law of 
succession, but at this period the family would disregard English 
law and the succession would fall to the eldest of the family or the 



most active. The following entries show how imperfect the genealogy 
really is. 1394. Mac Jordan, John, son of Meiler, lord of Athlethan, 
was killed by the sons of John. (F.M.) 1416. MacJordan attacked 
the western O'Haras, intervening in an existing O'Hai'a quarrel. 
O'Hara and some Sligo O'Conors met the van of his army, when 
O'Hara and several of his allies were slain. MacJordan plundered 
the country, but was attacked in his retreat and killed with O'Rowan 
and Hugh O'Rowan and MacDuarcan, lord of Culneiridh. 1426. 
Richai'd MacJordan of the Wood was killed by MacJordan Duff 
(MacCostello). (A.U.) 1497. The sons of John Mor MacJordan were 
slain in treachery in the spring by MacJordan, Thomas, and by his 
sons. (L.C.) 1520. William MacJordan died. 1584. MacJordan, i.e. 
Thomas Duff, died. 

We have two entries relating to the great bardic and literary 
family of O'Higgin, which had a good estate in Leyny : (A.U.) 1448. 
O hUiginn, Tadhg Og, a very eminent scholar who kept a great school, 
died at Kilconla, and was buried at Athlethan, i.e. Strade. 1476. Brian, 
son of Farrell Roe O'Higgin, head of his tribe, an eminent poet, died 
on Maundy Thursday and was buried at Athlethan. 

This barony is remarkable among the Mayo baronies for the number 
of Gaelic families who had small freeholds at the close of the sixteeiith 
century, as shown in the Inquisitions of 14 James I. These inquisi- 
tions, after making allowances for changes arising from sales and 
forfeitures, represent fairly the general state of the tenures as they 
were when the composition prepared new conditions. O'Rowans, 
MacDurcans, O'Higgins, O'Haras, O'Hennegans held a considerable 
extent, usually in small parcels. MacNicholases held estates near 
Bohola. Their name suggests that they were of English descent. 

As MacJordan sold his estate to Dillon, so other MacJordans sold 
to him. Sir Theobald Bourke, and other persons before inquisitions 
were taken in the time of King James to ascertain the names of all 
the freeholders and the extent of their lands. Hence we cannot 
tell how the bai-ony was divided among the de Exeters except in a 
general way. 

Our first information is in the Division of Connaught, showing the 
castles of Corraun, Bellavary, and Danganmore in possession of the 
MacStephens, as they were in 1617. The Sleight Henry had Kean- 
condroe, Bohola, and Newcastle. The first is, I think, Ballinamore. 
They form a compact block next east of Clan Stephen. MacJordan na 
Kelle has Clanvara Castle, not identified, probably in the Swinford 
district, the castle of the Tuath of Clanmanny. 

The composition has eight denominations, whereof two are parcels 
of ecclesiastical lands, as follows : Clan Stephen, 16 qrs. ; Clanmanny, 
16 qrs. ; Toae Bohola, 16 qrs. ; Toae Newcastle, 16 qrs. ; Coolcarney 


ancl Toae Bellahaghe, 64 qrs. ; Bellalahen, 16 qrs. ; Kinaff and Kille- 
dan, 6 qrs. ; Strade Abbey, 4 qrs. Excluding the ecclesiastical lands 
and Bellalahen, which seems to have gone witli the chieftainship, the 
barony is divided into five portions, whereof one is equal to the other 
four together. Mac Jordan got 10 qrs. free in Coolcarney and Bella- 
haghe, and Jordan FitzThomas of Bellahaghe got 4 qrs. free. This 
Jordan, therefore, was the next most important man after the 
chieftain in the branch of the family to which the chieftainship 
was attached. The first four tuaths thus appear to be heredi- 
tary estates of branches of the family which had lost right to the 
succession, comprising most of the land south of the Moy. These 
tuaths did not belong exclusively to the families which we know or 
suppose to have occupied them. Other freeholders were mixed with 
de Exeters. We may take it that while these represent hereditary 
estates in a general way, the great tuath of Coolcarney and Bellahaghe 
was under the direct management and control of the chieftainship 
branch — the line of Thomas Duff — and that, but for the change of 
tenui-e, estates would have been provided for other branches, and had 
been to some extent. 

In 1617 we find Henry Mac Jordan owning the castle of Bellahagh, 
or Old Castle, and Callough, Calbhach, owning that of Toomore or 
Cloongee, with large estates attached — Henry's mainly in Attymas, 
and a little near Bellahagh ; Callough's mainly in Kilgarvan, and a 
little in Kilconduff and Meelick. As they held shares in two quarters 
in Attymas, Callough may be taken as of the family of Thomas Mac- 
Jordan of Bellahagh. 



This barony is the lordship of MacCostello, from whom it takes its 
name, but was first named after Belahaunes. The part north of the 
parish of Aghamore was in the kingdom of Luighne or Gailenga, and 
was a subdivision of the latter called Sliabh Lugha. In St. Patrick's 
time the Ciarraige had some of the eastern part about Castlemore 
and the Letter, which they had lost by the thirteenth century. 

As far back as history goes clearly, the southern part was in 
possession of the Ciarraige, successors of tribes called Cruithnech 
in the Attacottic list ; but they make no great show in history, being 
one of the tribes on which Brian Orbsen's ancestors and descendants 
rested their supremacy in that early period when the legends give 
little more than names of chief kings. 

In the thirteenth century it was held by two divisions called 
Ciarraige Uachtarach and Ciarraige lochtarach, the latter better 
known as Ciarraige of Loch na nAirneadh, i^ow Lough Mannin. 
O'Ceirin was chief of all, and had his principal dwelling on or near 
the lake. Mannin House is close to the site of Mannin Castle, which 
is on a small peninsula. The country about the lake is full of 
cashels and duns. In the lake were many crannoges. About the 
lake are many prehistoric graves and remains of cromlechs, evidence 
that for many ages the lake has been surrounded by the dwellings of 
families of high position. 

In the de Burgo partition Hugh de Lacy had a grant of 81iabh 
Lugha. We next find Miles MacGoisdelbh established as lord of 
Sliabh Lugha. As he is said to have been married to a daughter of 
the Earl of Ulster, he probably got it from Hugh. 

Jocelyn de Angulo came to Ireland with his sons Philip and 
Gilbert, called by the Irish MacGoisdelbh, where Goisdelbh is a 
corruption of Jocelyn, corrupted back into English as MacCostello. 
In Hugh de Lacy's enfeoffment of Meath, Jocelyn got the barony of 
the Navan, and his son Gilbert got Machaire Gaileng, comprising Mor- 
gallion and Ratoath. . Philip and Gilbert were outlawed for rebellion 
in 1195. Gilbert's fiefs were forfeited, and were given by Walter de 
Lacy to his brother Hugh about 1198. In 1206 King John pardoned 
Philip and Gilbert and William de Angulo. This William had been 


associated with Philip and (iilbert in their rebellion, and had held 
lands under the king and under Walter de Lacy, which Avere restored 
to him.^ As he is the ancestor of the MacGoisdelbhs of Mayo, we 
must take him to have been a son of Jocelyn. 

Philip was allowed to succeed to his father's lands. Gilbert lost all 
his Meath hinds. He had taken service as a soldier under King 
Cathal Crovderg, who gave him lands in Hy Many. When he was 
pardoned, King John confirmed to him what he held from King 
Cathal so fai- as it lay in that king's part of Connaught, and made 
him a grant of other lands, probably the rest of Cathal's grant. 

Being afterwards in the king's service, he built the castle of 
Caeluisce with King Cathal's help, probably near Ballyshannon, and 
was killed there and the castle burnt in the following year, 1213. 

His family held the Hy Many estates until the partition by 
Richard de Burgo, when they seem to have been taken up in an 
amicable way from his successoi'S, as Muintermailfinnain, a part of 
them, was held by Earl William on a different tenure from that of 
the rest of Connaught. The family probably died* out in the male 
line, as no more is heard of this branch. 

Miles MacGoisdelbh now appears fighting in Conmaicne in Co. 
Leitrim for the Lord of the Navan, who had a grant from Walter 
de Lacy. He built the castle of Athanchip in 1245, but was driven 
out of the country in 1247. Thus ended the attempt of the Lord of 
the Navan to hold that country directly. 

He appears next as Lord of Sliabh Lugha, holding the great castle 
of Sliabh Lugha, Castlemore, which replaced Ailech Mor Ciarraige, 
a few yards away. He died in 1259. His wife had been buried in 
Boyle Abbey, which we may take to have been the family burying- 
place until Urlare was built. 

In 1324 Matilda, widow of Jordan de Angulo, and her husband, 
Nicholas de Kerdyff, sue John and Gilbert de Angulo for her dower 
in the manor of Castlanmor in Connaught ; and John sues certain 
persons for lands in Angevyneston near Ardbraccan, and other places, 
claiming as son of Jordan, son of Hugo, son of Milo, son of Philip, 
son of William, who lield them of the king in capite in the time 
of King John. Matilda sought dower also in the manors of Kilbixi 
and Kinclare in West Meath.- This suggests that Jordan was not 
long dead. 

John pleaded that his father had not such fee and freehold in 
Castlemore on the day of his marriage as to enable him to endow 
Matilda. 3 Gilbert's position in the suit does not appear. He was 

1 D.I., I., Nos. 36.3, 43G, GTS. 2 P.K., 17, 18 Ed. II. 

=* Matilda's claim was admitted except as to Castlemore, regarding which the 
result does not appear. 


probably the owner in possession. It may be inferred that Gilbert 
or his father had been enfeoffed of this manor. He and the Thomas 
and David who were killed in 1292 would be Gilbert Mor's three 

The Plea Rolls show that about the time of Milo's death a Gilbert 
was in litigation with a Philip about land in Obresil, and with a 
William about other land. A Michael also appears, and appears 
again in a Pipe Ptoll of .30 Edw. I. as owing half a knight's service 
for Obresil,^ which name survives in Brazil townland, in Killossery 
parish, Nethercross barony, Co. Dublin. But we have no informa- 
tion as to extent of the estates of this family in Meath and Dublin, 
nor as to the relation of the line of Milo to the other members of that 

The record of the death of Hugo in 1266 in the Annals of Loch Ce 
shows that he was known in Connaught. 

Philip was Sheriff of Connaught in 1277. The sheriffs were men 
of high position in those times. It is probable, therefore, that he 
held the cantred of Kerry Oughter, which we find later on in the 
possession of his descendants, the MacJordans. Jordan or his 
successor must have taken over the cantred of Kerry Eighter or 
Kerry Lochnarney from the FitzGerald lord. Though the MacJordan 
Duff estate was thus about equal, or even greater than that of Mac- 
Costello, none of this clan was ever given the title of MacCostello ; 
they always acknowledged that the title lay in the senior line. 

From Philip's son Baldraithe came also the small clan of Mac- 
Philip of the Letter, who had Doo Castle in that region. 

Waldrons live about Ballyhaunis who, I am told, are commonly 
called Walder by their neighbours, and, according to some of them, 
ought to be called Bhaldraithe. This suggests that Philip originated 
a thii"d clan called MacBhaldraithe and MacBhaldrin. The latter 
form is given in the Annals of Loch Ce, 1336, and by O'Clery. 

My genealogy is taken from that of D. MacFirbis from Miles 
Bregach downwards. From Edmond an Machaire downwards it 
seems correct. The thirteenth and fourteenth century parts are 
open to doubt. An ancestor has certainly been dropped between 
Gilbert Og and Edmond, whom I insert as John, who died in 1366. 
The descent of the lordship at this time seems to have been strictly 
in accordance with English law. 

Many names entered in the Annals cannot be placed. The 
Genealogies as a rule omit those Avhose descendants did not survive 
to the time of compilation. Thus the second Edmond an Machaire 
is omitted, and also the Philip whose son was set up as chief in 1487. 

Castlemore was always MacCostello's chief castle. Rathnaguppaun, 

1 38 D.K. 


now called Rath Castle, was the chief castle of MacJordan Duff, 
probably where Philip established himself. When other castles and 
lands were sold to Theobald Dillon, MacJordan kept it and some land 
about it. The ruins show it to have been a large building. 

In course of time MacCostello and MacJordan founded monasteries 
for their territories at Urlare and ]iallyhaunis. In the seventeenth 
century tradition told that the latter had been founded on the site of 
a manor-house of the de Barrys. Thick foundations have been found 
at the monastery. 

Lying on the borders of the Silmurray and the Luighne, the 
^lacCostellos were almost always at war with their neighbours, 
and sometimes among themselves. They were the first colonists 
of their high rank who adopted Gaelic names. MacRudhraighe 
appears as a surname at the close of the sixteenth centviry. They 
were probably the descendants of the man of that name who was 
killed in 1545. 

There is no trace of sui-vival of any other English colonists into the 
sixteenth century. 

War of the MacCostellos and ]\IacDermots. 

Almost always at war with each other, these tribes in the six- 
teenth century carried on a more definite warfare than usual, inde- 
pendently of the larger contests of the greater lords. Other periods 
may have been much the same, but this is more fully described by 
the annalists. 

In 1547 Jordan Boy, son of John, son of Walter MacCostello, went 
into Moylurg with eighteen followers to seek stolen property. Brian, 
son of Ruaidhri, son of Tadhg MacDermot, with only six men met 
him. Brian being badly wounded, his men submitted, but Brian 
had wounded the Gilladuff, son of Philip (or MacPhilip) severely. 

Tadhg became MacDermot in 1549. He invited the learned men 
of Ireland to visit him at Christmas, when he was so generous and 
libei'al that on St. Stephen's Day he divided among the professors 
and poets all the plunder which he had taken from MacCostello, 
being 60 cows, and from Clan Philip, being 1200 (120?) and 10 horses. 
These must have been acquired in raids in revenge of Brian. 

In 1551 Jordan Boy came again, and was defeated by the Mac- 
Dermots at the Upper Muinchend, losing twenty to forty men. 

In 1553, the MacDermots being at war among themselves, Jordan 
Boy took a prey from Brian ]\lacDermot's people, and, with the help 
of Eoghan MacDermot's sons, killed Tomaltach MacDermot treacher- 
ously on the Lung. 

In retaliation, MacDermot's sons made a great depredation on 
Jordan Boy in 1554. 

In 1557 Brian MacDermot plundered MacCostello and burnt 


Tiilrohan. A large force overtook him, but he carried oflE his booty 
after a fight. 

In 1560 he plundered Jordan again, and killed Heni-y O'Gradaigh's 

This quarrel seems to have ended when Jordan was killed by 
David Ban Bourke's sons in Ballyloughdalla in Tirawley. It does 
not appear why he was there or why he was killed. 

The following notes from the Annals show the life led on the 
borders of Mayo and Roscommon from fourteenth to sixteenth 
century : — 

(L.C.) 1333. Gilbert killed. 1336. Maiduic, son of Balldrin, killed. 
13-1:0. Jordan Ruadh killed by Cathal MacDermot Gall. William, 
son of Gilbert, was slain in a conflict in Brefne by the Tellach Echach. 
134G. The sons of Balldrin treacherously slew Maghnus MacDermot 
Gall in his own house. 1365. An attack was made by Clann Gois- 
delbh on the Luighne, on which occasion six sons of kings were slain, 
along with Cormac O'Hara, the Tanist. 1366. John, lord of Sliabh 
Lugha, died. 

(O'Flaherty's Annals.) 1367. Milo, son of Jordan Duff; Johnock, 
son of John, son of Jordan Duff ; William, son of Jordan Ruadh ; 
and David, son of Philip, were killed. 

(F.M.) 1384. Miles died. U17. John plundered Edmond an 
Machaire, but was shot after he had carried off the prey. 1426. 
Richard MacJordan na Coille (de Exeter) was taken prisoner by 
Owen, son of Flaherty, and delivered up to MacJordan Duff, who 
destroyed him. 1428. John Finn was killed. 1437. MacCostello, 
i.e. Edmond an Machaire, died. 1438. Jordan, son of John, died. 
1443. O'Flynn and some of his kindred were slain by the Clan 
Costello at the house of O'Killeen. 1449. O'Flynn was slain in 
his own house by the sons of Walter Boy MacCostello. 

(D. MacFirbis's Annals.) 1461. Fergal O'Gara, that ought to be 
King of Coolavin, was slain by MacCostello. 1464. O'Flynn and his 
brother and five of their men were slain in Clooncrim by the sons of 
Philip MacCostello. 

(F.M.) 1464. Tomaltach Og O'Gara was slain by night in a skirmish 
on Clooncarha in Kilmovee parish by Maurice MacDermot Gall, who 
Avas in alliance with MacCostello. 1467. David was killed by Mac- 
Fheorais. 1468. Edmond an Machaire was killed by his brother 
William. 1487. MacCostello, John Duff, died. His own brother 
William, son of Edmond an Machaire, and Jordan, son of Philip, 
were both set up as lords. 1493. David, son of Meyler, son of 
Edmond an Machaire, was slain by O'Haras. 1496. MacCostello was 
taken prisoner by MacDermot. 


(L.C.) 1536. MacCostello, John, sou of the Gilladuff, was killed by 
Piers and by some of the people of Airtech — treacherously, according 
to the Four Masters. See also above, p. 167. 1545. MucCostello, i.e. 
Walter, son of William MacCostello, went on an expedition to Bunni- 
nadden against the sons of the O'Oonor Sligo, who had been killed 
lately by the MacDermots. The O'Conors and some MacSAveenys 
defeated him, killing MacCostello and his son Rudhraighe at Ruscach 
na Gaithi. 1555. MacCostello, Piers, was killed. 1561. Jordan Boy 
was killed. 1581, Thomas an tSleibhe, son of Richard, died. 1582. 
The Gilladuff Og and Egnechan, sons of the Gilladuff, were killed. 
1586. The son of MacCostello, William, son of Piers, was hanged 
by the Sheriff of Roscommon on Dumha na Romhanach. In 1588 
Sir R. Bingham wrote that the Sheriff Eyland had hanged by warrant 
one " Pers" MacCostello, a traitor for whom Sir N. Malbie had offered 
£200 in vain. It does not appear what Pers had done to be so highly 
valued. This man may be really William. Sir Richard's Pers may 
have been a MacPers. 1588. The son of MacCostello, Edmond, died. 
1589. The son of MacCostello, i.e. William Caech, son of Jordan, son 
of John Duff, and William, son of Jordan, son of Meiler Ruadh, 
were slain on Slieve Murry a week before Christmas. 1590. 
Anthony, son of Walter Caech, son of Thomas Duff MacJordan, was 

Sir N. Malbie writes to Walsingham on 10th June 1580 : — 

MacCostello, pretending to be allied to the Dillons, as he is, 
" hath called to him out of the English pale this gentleman bearer 
hereof, Mr. Tibavdt Dyllon and moving him to join with him in 
friendship (in the name of his kinsmen) hath with the consent of 
all the rest of his surname, given him of free gift a great portion 
of his land with a large ancient castle called Castlemore." Dillon 
wishes to devote his life and living to the advancement of good 
government. Therefore I recommend him.^ 

This tradition of common descent of Dillons and de Angulos is 
found also in O'Clery's " Book of Pedigrees," and may be true, 
nothing being known of the de Angulo pedigree beyond Jocelyn. 
Dillon belonged to a family having considerable influence in the 
Irish government, was a man of ability, and was not hampered by 
scruples in the use of his abilities. In a few years he acquired so 
much more that the composition for the barony was made with him 
alone in 1587. 

On the 10th June 1586, John MacCostello, captain and cliief of his 
nation, surrendered the manors and lands of the barony with the inten- 
tion of their being regranted to him, and renounced the title and name 
of MacCostello and all Irish customs incident to it ; which manors and 
1 S.P.I.E.,LXXUL 51. 


lands, as described below, were regranted to him on the 2nd July 
1586, to be held by the service of the twentieth part of a knight's 
fee, and one fair great hawk, and 10s. rent as composition for cess 
out of every quarter that shall be charged therewith by the com- 

The manors and lands of Castlemore, Kilcolman, Benfadda, Ballin- 
doo, Letter MacPhilip, Twoee Balliallon, alias Slyeve O'Loee (Sliabh 
Lugha), Mannyn, Illanmacgillavally, Bealagary, Annagh, Caislean 
Bellaveel, Tulrohaun, Bekan, Keryeghter, Keryoghter, and Cowgy, 
Ballindingen, and the three towns of the Errick. 

Letter MacPhilip is part of Kilbeagh towards Doo Castle or 
Ballindoo, and Sliabh Lugha comprises pai-ts of the Bockagh and 
MuUaghanoe ranges. Bealagary, or Belanagar, is now called Cashlaun 
na Drancaddha near Ballyhaunis. Keryeghter, Keryoghter, and 
Cowgy, or Coogue now, are parts of Aghamore and Knock, the 
present townlands of Coogue lying to the north-west of Lough 
Mannin. Ballindingen is probably the town of the fort called Dhine, 
Daingean, in Kilgarriff townland, south of the Coogues. 

MacCostello's title being thus secured, he seems to have sold it to 
Dillon immediately, the transaction being thus noted in the Annals 
of Loch Ce for 1586 : "The Great Castle of MacGoisdelbh, and half 
the lordship of the country, were given to Tibbot Dillon by MacGois- 
delbh, i.e. John, son of the Gilladuff, son of Hubert. O'Gadhra gave 
five towns in his division, and the castle of Daire-mor, to the same 

Dillon acquired most of the MacJordan rights also, as we find him 
in the seventeenth century owning all the castles of the country 
except MacJordan's castle of Rathnaguppaun. 

When the composition was made, the survey of 1587 dealt with the 
country in five divisions, viz. : Castlemore, 52 qrs. ; Letter MacPhilip, 
48 qrs.; Kerryoughter, 52 qrs.; Tulrohaun, 52 qrs.; Ballyhaunis, 
48 qrs. For the assessment of composition rent, it was recommended 
that four of these quarters be treated as one quarter of 120 acres, 
owing to the poverty of the country. 

Thus the MacCostellos lost their place among the great land-owning 
families. Dillon's transactions must have been generally fair, though 
Sir R. Bingham took exception to the ways in which he and others 
had got large tracts of land. No complaints appear to have been 
made by those concerned. The MacCostellos did not take advantage 
of disturbances to turn against him. The change may have benefited 
them in various ways. They were not all turned out of their castles 
and lands, but held on English tenures, paying a fixed rent, free from 
the irregular exactions of chieftains, and from the quarrels and 
jealousy due to uncertain successions. Under him as landlord they 


got all the benefits which the composition was intended to confer on 
the subjects of the old chieftains. 

Dillon similarly acquired the castle of Gallagh on the shore of 
Lough Glinn, and MacDermot Gall rights over the greater part of 
Artech ; thus two hostile tribes were brought under one head who 
was not directly connected with either, and was a means whereby 
ancient enmities could be let subside and the new ideas of English 
government be brought into effect. 



The territory comes late into notice as Tir Nechtain and Tir Enna, 
called after IsTechtan and Enna, sons of Brian Orbsen, whose descend- 
ants inhabited them — obscure small clans overshadowed by their great 
relatives. Even the names of their chiefs are unknown. Except that 
the great Abbey of Mayo grew up here, history ignores it. 

The northern part, consisting of the parishes of Kilcolman and 
Mayo, was called Tir Nechtain, and the southern part Tir Enna, but 
the boundaries between them are not known. The latter had the 
alternative name of Tir Ninnidh, which in part is carried on by 
Doonmacreena, properly Dun maic Ninnidh. An alternative name 
for the whole was Crich Fir Thire, which was also in a smaller sense 
applied to the parish of Kilvine, as Tir Nechtain was applied to that 
of Kilcolman. 

Maurice FitzGerald acquired it from a Gerald de Rupe, who probably 
got it from a Gerald Prendergast. When Gerald Prendergast, the great 
baron of Leinster and Munster, died in 1251, and his estates fell to 
John Cogan, son of his daughter by his first wife, a Butler, and to a 
daughter of his second wife, who was a daughter of Richard de Burgo, 
we find William, Philip, David, Maurice, Elias, and Henry Prender- 
gast holding under him in Munster. He had probably established 
some of his relations here before he sold to G. de Rvipe, but the seller 
may have been one of his many relations. 

When the family first appears in Connaught, David is its head, 
who had sons, David, Gerald, and John. The family is rarely noticed 
in the Annals, and there is no extant genealogy. Less is known of 
this than of any other great family of Mayo. 

The tribe name was Clann Muiris na mBri, the castle of the Bri, now 
called Brees Castle, having been their first stronghold, and in after 
times attached to the name of MacMaurice. The surname MacMuii-is, 
or MacMorris, seems to have been taken from the Maurice Prender- 
gast who came with Strongbow, a most valiant knight and a man of 
his word. The tribe name was taken from a Maurice Sugach, son of 
Gerald, as it is so given in the Annals of Loch Ce, 1335. MacGarailt, 
or MacGarrett, was an alternative name, whence they have been called 
FitzGerald s. 

321 V 


It passed out of the FitzGerald hands before 1333, when William 
Prendergast was the principal lord under the Earl of Ulster, who had 
been given the Earl's court in the cantred. 

The MacMorrises went against Sir Edmond Albanagh in the four- 
teenth century, and succeeded to the last in keeping themselves free 
from formal dependence on MacWilliam Bourke. Naturally they 
usually took the side against him. Thus in 1420 they intervened 
in a quarrel between the two O'Haras on behalf of John O'Hara's 
sons, who were Mac William's enemies, and suffered a defeat in which 
MacMorris was taken prisoner. 

In the sixteenth centuiy we find the parish of Balla within this 

At the close of the century the MacMoiTises were spread over the 
barony, being described as of the Bri, Murneen, Derowel, Ahena, 
Barreel, Castlemacgarrett, Castlekeel, Ballyhowly, Gortnedin. Mac- 
Walter of Garrydufif, MacAdam of Clogher MacAdam and Cloonconor, 
MacSherone and MacUlick of Kinkelly were probably Prendergasts. 
FitzSimon, called MacEryddery, had a large estate with the castles of 
Doonmacreena and Castlereagh in the south. Fleming of Carrantawy 
and Stangfoi'd of Ballynastangford seem to be other descendants of 
early colonists. MacCristicks held land, who may be either Gaelic 
or English. Mac an Brehon and O'Cullenan were Gaelic land- 

Like other chieftains, MacMorris settled MacDonnells on his lands, 
who are described as of Mayo, Kielcolla, Cloonkeen, Tawnagh, Cor- 
bally, but they had not much land, and no castle. 

In May 1585 Ricard MacMorris of the Brees, chief of his nation, 
had a grant, after surrender, of the whole barony of Clanmorris, the 
manor or castle of Brees, the castle and lands of Murneen, the lands 
of Cranan and Termon, and all the manors, castles, and lands which 
he has in the barony or territory of Clanmorris and in the territory 
of Tirenene and Tirrenaghtin, as fully as Walter Og MacMorris, late 
captain of the nation, held them. To hold for ever by the service of 
one knight's fee ; rent <£40 English, and one goshawk. To attend the 
deputy or governor of the province on all hostings or journeys with 
4 horsemen and 24 footmen armed, with victuals for 40 days ; to supply 
annually 40 men with tools and victuals for 4 days, to do such work 
in the county as shall be appointed ; to send to all hostings in the 
province 16 horses with their drivers, to carry victuals. These rents 
and customs to be levied indifferently on the followers of MacMorris, 
and in all places in the barony of Clanmorris Avhere the 40 marks 
were levied by Sir N. Malbie, Knt., late governor of the province, as 
parcel of the composition of said Ricard. This grant not to bar the 
rights of any of the queen's subjects. The premises are discharged 


from the composition made by Malbie, and all other burdens, saving 
the queen's prerogative, and the rents herein reserved.^ 

This grant was modified by the Indenture of Composition. 

Having acquired a certain heritable estate, Ricard parted with it to 
John Moore of Meelick, following the example of MacCostello, which 
MacJordan also followed. But these transactions did not occur 
immediately. In these sales they may have been influenced by 
consideration of the difficulty of securing the succession to their 
own heirs, who would have found themselves in conflict with those 
who would have succeeded to the chieftainship estate under the 
abolished customs. It would have been hard for one of the clan to 
enforce these new rights against his fellows, whereas cash could be 
invested elsewhere, and a stranger could enforce his rights unhampered 
by family feelings. 

1 15 D.K., 4669. 



Ix earliest times this barony was in the territory of the Tuath Resent 
Umoir and of the Partraige, whom the Conmaicne put out of sight. 
It was within the FitzGerald manor of Lough Mask. The barony was 
first hiid out to comprise the lands of the Joys, the Walshes, and the 
Partry, in which MacThomas and MacTybod Avere chiefs. But it was 
in fact confined to the lands held under MacThomas, and those of Ross 
and Rallynonagh which were held by Sir Murrough O'Flaherty, who 
was considered to hold the entire barony under MacWilliam. The 
parish of Partry or Ballyovey was in Carra when the composition of 
1585 was made. 

MacThomas of Castlekirke was the head of the Joys, a very large 
tribe, spread all over the barony, divided into several clans. 

The first of the family must have had a grant from Maurice 
FitzGerald. The Plea Rolls of 3 Edw. II. show that the widow of 
Thomas Joy sued his son Richard for one-third of two vills in 
Connaught as dower. This Thomas may be Thomas Roe, son of 
Davock, son of Johnkin na Gasraighe, son of Heoigli, i.e. Joy, son of 
Sir David, son of the King of Wales, from whom, according to 
MacFirbis, all the Joys descended. Up to Johnkin the pedigree 
may be correct, and he be the first settler. 

The Joys do not come into view again until the latter quarter of 
the sixteenth century. 

The barony was afterwards transferred to Galway by Sir W. Fitz- 
A\ illiam, because tlie composition rent was claimed by the collector 
for Galway, being included in the Indenture of lar Connaught. 





L General Remarks. 

The legends and historical statements are here examined without submission 
to the chronology and genealogies framed by Irjsh historians to connect Noah 
with the men of their own time, save as a measure of relative antiquity in 
their opinion. Their systems were drawn from ancient legends, tales, and 
poems such as appear in abstract in the Dindsenchas, in addition to those 
which have survived to this day. These I examine so far as they have been 
translated and published. It is not likely that the remainder will differ 
widely from the part already published. 

My conclusion is that the Fomorach, Firbolg, and Tuatha De Danann 
were clans of the Gael who fought with each other about the beginning of 
the Christian era, much as their descendants did in historical times, and that 
the traditions do not go much farther back except in a very shadowy way. 

In dealing with historical legends I keep two points in mind : that the 
tribal relations of tribes dwelling near each other are fairly correctly repre- 
sented by their pedigrees, though the early parts of those pedigrees may be 
obviously false, and that tribes rose over and sank beneath each other as they 
rose and sank in historical times. Thus the Gregry, Kerry, Conmaicne of 
Mayo and Galway, and the Corcamoe are closely related in origin, though the 
pedigrees connecting them with the Irian kings of Ulster cannot be trusted : 
they stand to the Eremonians as a body in a mucli less intimate relationshiji 
than they do to each other. So the Sodhans and Corcamoe are grouped as 
of Irian descent in respect of the Hy Many, but as between themselves the 
Corcamoe are more closely related to the Conmaicne than to the Sodhans. 

As to tribes far distant from each other, the pedigrees deserve little credit. 
The Calry of Connaught and the Corcalee of Munster, the Kerry of Con- 
naught and the Kerry of Munster, cannot be accepted as close relations in the 
absence of additional evidence. 

Taking the historical period from the beginning of the fifth century to 
the Anglo-Norman Conquest, I find no great displacement of any tribe by a 
conqvieror. Tribes have been made to acknowledge supremacy, but liave not 
been suddenly cleared off a large tract of country. The process was gradual 
encroachment on the weaker tribes, who remained within narrower limits or 



in an inferior condition, and by degrees died out or were lost in other names. 
Thus the descendants of Muvedach Mulleathan took new clan names and 
acquired hereditary estates in Moy Ai and overilowed upon their neighbours, 
the Kerry, the Delbna of Sid Nenta, the Corcamoe, upon part of Conmaicne, 
and even into Cruffon, the kingdom of O'Mulrony, a king of the Hy Many 
race. Later Maelruanaid, son of Tadg of the White Horse, by a partition 
with O'Conor got the great kingdom of Moylurg, which was made up at the 



expense of the Kerry of Artech, of the former Cali-y landowners of Moylurg, 
and of the Hy Ailella. And this new tri):)e had a great offshoot in the j\Iac- 
Donoghs. Thus the Hy Fiachrach spread from Carra and Tirawley over Tire- 
ragh, obliterating the Calry except in Coolcarney. A similar process of 
settlement of tribes descended from Torlo<.'h Mor was in operation when 
Richard de Burgo was put in possession of Connauglit. The race of Brian 
Luignech kept their settlement in Carbury by accepting the FitzGerald 
supremacy, and eventually became powerful. But for that conquest another 
hundred years would have shown O'Conor as the chief of a Sil Torley, to 


whom the Sil Murray would have occupied the position which the Kerry, 
Coiimaicne, &c., formerly occupied towards them. 

Disappearance of a powerful tribe and appearance of another in its place, 
without legends of great conquests which seem true, lead to suspicion that 
the new tribe is a transformation, or a clan of the old which has attained 
supremacy within the tribe. The Hy Many, the Gregry, and the Conmaicne 
Eein illustrate this. 

The case of the Hy Many is very clear, and, like that of the Gregry, is 
mentioned farther on. The case of the Conmaicne Rein is nearly as clear as 
that of the Hy Many. The Book of Fenagh is not authority for history, 
but is very good authority for the legends of the Conmaicne Rein regarding 
their origin. It tells us that St. Caillin found the Conmaicne of Dunmore 
quarrelling, and induced them to keep the peace and let him get them more 
land. He went to Moy Rein, where he converted Aedh Dubh son of Fergua, 
and procured from him land for the Conmaicne. Aedh Dubli was too black 
for his own taste, and was by St. Caillin's intercession given the shape of 
St. Rioc, and became Aedh Find in future.-^ He iispired to the championshiiJ 
of the Glasry, a tribe descended from Niall of Nine Hostages, dwelling in the 
country of Cairbre, the Barony of Granard. The Attacottic List mentions 
Glasry as an extinct Milesian tribe and Glasry as an Attacottic tribe.* Their 
own tradition shows that there were no Conmaicne in Moy Rein until the 
sixth century. 

These facts point to adoption l)y these Conmaicne of a pedigree connecting 
them with tbose of Dunmore, probably by identification of one of their 
ancestors with one of the same name in the Dunmore family pedigree. 

The Coir Anmann gives Cu and Lugaid Conmac as alternative names of 
Conmac, son of Fergus.' In the Book of Fenagh, Conmac and Lugaid 
Conmac are two men separated by several generations. The Irish traditions 
show that Hy Conmaic, i.e. Conmaicne, existed before Fergus's time. 

Moreover, Aedh Dubh of the Glasry seems to have been identified with the 
Aedh Find of Brefne, and the ancient Milesian Glasry to have been treated 
as Attacots and again as Milesians. 

The Attacottic List quoted above is a list of Attacottic tribes taken from 
the Book of Glendalough with D. MacFirbis's notes thereon, which deserves 
attention. It seems to be the result of investigation to ascertain what free 
tribes existed before the Attacottic Revolution, and what Attacottic tribes 
took their places. The Attacots are said to have distributed themselves over 
Erin after the extinction of her free men, namely, forty-six tribes who were 
replaced by forty-seven servile tribes. 

I understand that the compiler found that the forty-six tribes came by 
their relationships into the genealogies of the descendants of Breogan. They 
became extinct by the operation of the Revolution. Consequently the tribes 
found in existence in and immediately after the Attacottic period were not 
recognised as of Milesian descent, because, according to the theory of ex- 
tinction, the tribes then existing could not be free tribes, 

1 " Book of Fenagh," pp. 83, 119, 179-191. 

2 Introduction to O'Curry's " Lectures on the Manners and Customs of the 
Ancient Irish," p. xxvii. 

3 " Irische Texte," 3rd series, p. 274. 



I find among the extinct free tribes Benntraighe, Cathraiglie, Condraighe 
Glasraighe, Bibraiglie, and servile tribes of the same name. The Cathraighe 
of the Domnonian race have certainly been transformed into the Milesian 
Hy j\Iany. 

The free Gabhraighe are not represented among the Attacottic tribes, but 
in Queen .Meav's time there was a Domnonian tribe called Gabhraighe of the 
Suck, which does not appear again in later legends. The free Calraighe are 


<p J2<S ' ^"' CIARRAICE ' -^'^JOELBN^ OeiBNA'. c. 5 

f' CO ; \ i. - - ' tTtANMOY more; ^'if O 

{ r './>---' ; CORCA'DELBNAl ? ^ , <<, /Vc < 


V < 

" GaiCenga 


or THE 







not represented among the Attacots, but the Calraighe of history ajipear at 
an early date, with an evidently factitious pedigree connecting them with 
Leinster and Munster tribes. 

A tract on Cairpre Cinnchait and the Athach Tuatha ^ gives a different 
distribution of the Attacots and names only thirty-two tribes, under other 
names in some cases. The Clann Umoir tribes are wholly omitted by that 
name. The Tuath Kois is placed in Tirawley and Tireragh. The Life of 
St. Mochua of Balla ^ quotes an old poem which calls the clans of Fiachra 
by the name Clanns of Ross, who was a grandson of Ailill Molt, or a son of 

^ Revue Celtiquc, xx. p. 335. 

2 Book of Lismore iu " Anecdota Oxoniensia." 


Ere Culbuide. Those clans in tlie sixth century had a supremacy over the 
Hy Fiachrach. Furtlier, it seems to me that what are called in the former 
tract extinct free tribes are called Attacots in this. 

2. The Fomorach, Tuatha De Danann, and Cruithne. 

The earliest notices of the Fomorians show them to have been chiefly in 
the north of Ireland. Partholan defeats them in the north. Nemed defeats 
them in Ulster and in Connaught, where lie kills two of their kings, Gann 
and Sengann, names which recur as those of kings of the Fir Domnann. The 
Fomorians get the better of the Nemedians, have their chief fortress on Tory 
Island, and receive their tributes near the Erne. From Partholan and 
Nemed descen<i the Domnonians and the Danonians. Irial Faidh defeats 
them and kills their king in Teanmagh ; and in Teffa defeats and kills Stirn, 
son of Dubh, son of Fomor. Eochy Mean, Fomorian, king of the northern 
half of Ireland, kills Sobhairce, King of Ireland. Oengus Olniucada kills 
Smiorgall, king of the Fomorach, at Ardagli. Sirna kills their king Ceasarn 
in Breg. Cical, descendant of Uadmoir, a Fomorian, is said to have been in 
Ireland before Partholan, with whom he fought a battle at Magh Itha in Ulster.^ 

The Tale of the Second Battle of Moytura makes them a northern race and 
associates them with the Danonians by marriage.^ The descents given there 
and those given by Keating differ, but make the connection equally close. 
Two men were named Bres, son of Elathan, who seem to be sometimes con- 
fused. The Tale of the First Battle tells us that Bres, son of Elathan, son of 
Delbaeth, was killed in the battle, and that Bres, son of Elathan, son of Neid, 
was elected king of the Danonians after the battle, reigned seven years, and 
died on Sliabh Gamh, whereupon Nuadat resumed the sovereignty.^ This 
Bres seems to be a Fomorian king who established a supremacy after the first 
battle, lost it, and was killed in the second battle. He is first cousin of Balor, 

Emer, wife of Cuchullin, is one of " the daughters of Tethra's nephew, i.e. 
Forgall, the king of the Fomori." * 

When Cuchullin reaches the Dun of Ruad, King of the Isles, Conall Cernach 
and Laegaire have arrived just before him to levy tribute, because the Isles 
of the Foreigners were then under tribute to Ulster. He rescues Ruad's 
daughter, who had been assigned as tribute to the Fomori, by killing three 
Fomori who came for her.^ Conall Cearnach and Laegaire Buadach were 
there at that time to levy tribute for Ulster. There seems to be no reason 
why Conall and Laegaire should be there levying tribute and taking no notice 
of the payment of tribute to the Fomori. It is like an edition of the story 
when the Fomori were no longer recognised as Ulstermen. In the Courtship 
of Ferb, Conor Mac Nessa brings a body of Fomorach against Gerg. 

A genealogical table constructed from Keating's History and the Tale of 
the Second Battle shows how the Tribes of De Danu break up into Delbhna, 
Clann Cein or Cianachta, and Luighne. The Danu from whom the race takes 
its name is supposed to have been a woman far down in the line. Unless 
there was an earlier Danu, this clan is improperly named. 

1 Keating, 116, 124, 125, 219, 225; A.Cl. 31, 36 ; F.M., A.M., 3790. 
^ Revue Celtique, xii. * O'Donovan's Translation, O.S.L.M. 

* " Cuchullin Saga," p. 64. * Ibid., p. 81. 


De Domnu and De Danii may be gods, but it is most unlikely that they 
are, and that in these two instances alone Irish tribes are called after a god 
and not after an ancestor. Tlie Domnu from whom the Per Domnann took 
their name does not ajipear in legend unless Indech Mac De Domnann was 
his son. Mac De Domnann is more likely to be a surname. 

The name Fomor in the Irian genealogy suiJi^lie.s an origin for Fomorach, 
as Eogan did for Eoganach in the same country. There may have been many 
Fomors in the clan. 

Stirn, son of Dubh, son of Fomor, can hardly be other than the brother of 
Sorge McDuff, killed by Irial Faidh at the same place.^ Sorge looks like an 
English form of Sithrige. Possibly the authority for the Clonmacnoise 
entry called him only son of Dubh, and the annalist supplies the name. 
Taking him for the Fomor of the Irian genealogy, the entries are a good 
illustration of expansion and dislocation of legends in the formation of history 
of proper duration. 

From the death of Irial Faidh to the death of Argetmar was 701 years 
according to Keating, 932 years according to the Four Masters. Stirn or 
Sithrige is thus taken 800 or 1000 years before his proper time. 

The Fomorach, being Irian, are the same race as the Cruithne of Ulster and 
Connaught. The Cruithne lielped the Domnonian Crindithann Sciathbhel, 
the King of Leinster, to subdue the British tribe called Tiiath Fidga. They 
became powerful and were driven away by Eremon, except six families who 
were let stay in Breg, to whom are attributed necromancy spells and omens, 
as to the Tuatha De Danann.^ This attribution has been ground of attribu- 
tion to the Tuatha De Danann of a higher civilisation, or of greater skill in 
arts and higher knowledge than the Firbolgs and Milesians j^ossessed. It may 
point equally to inferiority. The Badagas of the Nilgiris regard the Kurum- 
bars with great awe because they attribute to the Kurumbars extraordinary 
powers of necromancy. The Badagas are civilised Canarese people who came 
from Mysore and occupied a great part of the hills. The Kurumbars are 
a degraded jungle tribe, remnant, it is supposed, of the very early domi- 
nant race. 

The expelled Cruithne went to Scotland and founded the Pictish kingdom. 
The " Irish Xenniiis " describes the Cruithne who came to Leinster as " the race 
of Geleoin the son of Ercol.^ When driven out they were given as wives the 
widows of the sons of Miled, who had been drowned with Donn. 

The wife of Crimhthann Xia Nair was Narthuatlichaecli, daughter of Lotan, 
of the Pict-people (do Chruithentuaith, "Silva Gadelica"), Narthuathchaech, 
out of the Sidhes or of the Pict-folk (a Sidaib no do Chruithentuaith).* 

The Tuatha De Danann are very closely associated with the Cruithne of 
Leinster. Eremon drives them out like the Cruithne, and the Eremonians 
intermarry with them. It is evidently the same legend and the same people. 

Among the Foniorian allies of Bres are Goll and Irgoll. Eos Guill and 
Ross loi'guill adjoin in Donegal. 

The Cruithne of Leinster are called Sil nGeleoin and Clanna Geleoin and 
Fir Geleoin.^ The Tuath Gaileoin appear in the Attacottic List in Leinster. 

1 A CI., p. 31. 2 <. Irish Nennius," pp. 123-125. 

- Ibid., pp. 121, 131. * R.S.A.I., 1893, p. 378. 

'" " Irish Nennius," pp. 120, 130. 


They survived to later days, and left their name to Morgallion in Meath. 
Another branch has left its name to Gallen in Mayo. In each case Luighne 
accompany Gailenga, and we find Lune beside JMorgallion and Leyny beside 
Gallen. The Luighne of Meath once occupied the greater part of ]\Ieath and 
parts of Westmeath and Co. Dublin. 

The Liiighne of Tara were subjects of Cairbre Nia Fer.' Tigernach men- 
tions that they killed Cahir Mor. Cormac Mac Art is restored by Tadhg, 
son of Cian, ancestor of the Cianachta ; the sons of Uirgriu, of the Luighne 
of Tara, kill Finn Mac Cumal.^ This seems to represent the rise of the 
power of the Cianachta, who are mentioned at close of the sixth century by 

According to the Attacottic List, a tribe called Crecraige were in the country 
of Corann, which then extended east to Moytura, and covered the baronies of 
Corran, Leyny, Gallen, Coolavin, and part of Costello. In St. Patrick's time 
they seem to have lost Tirerrill and a small part of Corran, then held by Hy 
Ailella, a cognate tribe oi- clan. They ajDpear in his life at the Strand of 
Ballysadare and at Killara<,'ht near Lough Gara. Their name looks like a 
derivative of Ciric, son of Cruithne, the mythical ancestor of the Cruithne. 
South of them the Tuath Cruithnech occupied the county of Roscommon 
south of Lough Gara to Briole beyond Athleague, and the part of Mayo which 
lies east of the barony of Carra ; they covered the countries of the Ciarraige 
and of the Delbna of Sid Nenta. In the Dindsenchas of Carnfree the Cruithne 
of Croghan and the Tuatha Taiden and the Firdomnann accompany Conall of 
Croghan. According to D. MacFirbis, the Cruithne of Croghan and the Bolg- 
tuath of Badgna are descendants of Genann, that is, are Domnonians. The 
Irish historians identified the Cruithne of Ulster with the Irians of Ulster. 
As they allowed the Iriaiis to be of the clan of Miled, the Cruithne are the 
Gael of Ireland, or have been adopted by the Gael. 

The tract on the Corcalaidhe mentions Seal Balbh as either a man of the 
Olnegmacht or a king of Cruithentuaith and Manann.^ The wife of Tuatlial 
Techtmar is a daughter of Seal Balbh, king of the Fomorach or of Finland. 
These alternatives suggest that the writers who worked out this history were 
not aware that the Fomorach were only a clan of the great Cruithne race. 
The old names and distinctions were not fully understood. It seems to mark 
the loss of the knowledge of who the ancient Fomorach were, and the begin- 
ning of identification with northern sea-pirates, based on a derivation of 
Fomorach from the word Muir. 

Seal Balbh seems to have been a sort of title. If not, it is difficult to under- 
stand how the Book of Lecan makes Lugh a son of Cian or of Seal Balbh. 

3. The Fir Domnaxn and the Fir Bolg. 

The term Firbolg covers three divisions, Firdomnann, Firgaileoin, and 
Firljolg. The former two are distinct tribes of great importance. Though 
the last has given its name to the whole body, it appears only as the Bolgtuath 

1 "Battle of Rosnaree," Todd Lecture Series, vol. iv. 
'■^ Reiue Cdtiqne, vol. xvii. pp. 7, 16, 21. 
"* Celtic Societt/s Miscell., p. 25. 


of Badgna, and even there the meaning seems to be general, as it is said to 
descend from Domnonian chieftains. The Annals mention a Mofeniis or 
Jlofebis of tlie Firbcilgs, and his sons Lugh Roth and Mogh Ruith. The 
names of Mofemis and his son are in the genealogy of the race of Eber. 

The Firgaik'oin appear as Cruithne of Breg, and as such are of the same 
race as the Tuatlia Dc Danann, and in the first l)attle of Moytura as allies of 
Eochy Mac Ere, King of Connaught and of Ireland, under Slainge's sons, and 
in later legend, in the battle of Rosnaree as the subjects of the King of 
Leinster : and still later as the Firbolg inhabitants of the territory in Con- 
naught called Gailenga and Luighne from its later traditional conquerors. 
The tradition of the foundation of the Fair of Carman by a Danonian Bres 
further connects Leinster with Danonians and Firgaileoin. 

It is important to note that at the period suj^posed to be that of the arrival 
of the Firdonmann they have already under them a considerable body of the 
tribe from which the Tuatlia De Danann sprang. The conquest of the Tuath 
Fidga of Leinster may explain the pi'esence of the Firbolg among the Dom- 
nonian forces, if the Firbolg are of the Britisli race called Belga?, as some have 
thought. Crimhthan Sciathbhel thus had under him the Belgic Tuath Fidga 
in the south and the Cruithnech Firgaileoin in the north of Leinster. This 
tribe appears in the Attacottic List as a division of the Gaileoin north of 
Gabar — that is, of Leinster excluding Ossory, called south of Gabar. I under- 
stand it to mean that the three tribes therein mentioned were tributary to 
that branch of the Gaileoin. If the true meaning is that the Tuath Fidga 
and the others were sections of the Firgaileoin, it follows that the Firgaileoin 
are to be recognised as British. But this is certainly not the view of tribal 
relations taken by the ancient Irish historians. 

The Firbolg, in the restricted application of the term to a section of the 
adherents of the Domnonian kings, may have been a Belgic race from Britain, 
or a body of refugees forming a body of soldiers like the Clan Donnell Gallo- 
glass in later times, from which the name has been transferred to the whole 
body. Except by such transfer the Gaelic clans coiild not have come to be 
called Belgic. Bolg may not be connected with Belgse, or the same name 
may have been used by a Gaelic clan. It certainly covers the whole body of 
Domnonians and Gailians in the opinion of the Irish historians. 

The tradition of the Firbolg invasion and the first battle of Moytura sho\\'s 
the Domnonian kings in supremacy at Tara, whence they are driven by the 
Danonians. Yet they had previously got the better of the Firgaileoin, of 
whom the Danonians were a branch, as appears from the presence of the 
Firgaileoin in King Eochy's army. That the kings of the Firbolg were Dom- 
nonians is certain from the fact that the Domnonian kings of Connaught were 
recognised as descendants of the scms of Dela. 

Though the use of broad heavy spears is the characteristic of the Firbolg 
army, and the use of thin pointed spears is that of the Danonian army, 
another legend shows that such spears were introduced in the time of Einnal, 
Eochy Mac Erc's grandfather.^ Tacitus remarks that the army of Galgacus 
used slashing swords without points. That army must have been largely 
composed of Donmonians of the north and other Cruithne of Scotland. The 
remark suggests that the Britons of England used pointed swords which were 

^ " Irische Texte," 3rd Series, Coir Anmann, p. 40L 


not used by the northern tril)es. Likewise, at the battle of Moytura, about 
a hundred years earlier according to my computation, pointed spears were 
not yet in general use in Ireland. 

Ptolemy places Dumnonii in Cornwall and Devonshire next to Belgee, and 
in Scotland north and south of the Forth. As the Irish Domnall was pro- 
nounced Duvnall in the twelfth century, Devon shows a similar change from 
the original of Doninonii, and it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the 
Firdomnann are the same race as the Dumnonii of Great Britain. If the 
Firdomnann came from Britain with a body of Belgte after the establishment 
of Belgic tribes in South Britain, the term Firbolg might cover them in the 
view of the Irish. 

In the second battle of Moytura, Indech MacDomnann or Mac De Dom- 
nann is one of the Fomorian kings who oppressed the Danonians. His name 
looks Domnonian, but an Ulster king's father may have been named Domnu, 
and some Domnonians were on the Fomorian side. The Clan Umoir was 
said to be among them after the first battle. The names More, son of Dela, 
and Gann and Sengann, kings of the Fomorians, show that there was no wide 
difference between Fomorians and Domnonians, if indeed those were truly 
Fomorians and not Don^nonians wrongly classed like Cical. The statement 
that Cical landed in Irrusdomnann tends to identify him with the Clan 
Umoir, who occupied the whole western coast of that kingdom. O'Flaherty 
includes Clan Umoir among the Domnonians. But the early annalists, or 
early compilers of systematic history, finding Cical mentioned in legends 
which according to their chronology related to events earlier than the arrival 
of the Firbolg, classified him and his people as Fomorach. As the Clan 
Umoir do not appear again in the legends until the time of Queen Meav, they 
were treated as absent among the Fomorach. 

The tradition that Queen Meav's Clan Umoir were evicted tenants of her 
brother-in-law has perhaps some foundation. The great extent of country 
held by the clan inust have given it a high position. Some therefore ai'e 
likely to have acquired land in Breg when the Domnonians were in supremacy 
there. Cairbre Nia Fer is said to have surrendered three cantreds to Conor 
Mac Nessa when he married Conor's daugliter. This is like a peace after a 
war in which Conor won ; or as if, after the murder of Conaire I., Cairbre 
and Conor divided Breg. They would naturally turn out Clan Umoir lords. 
Tigernach seems to recognise some such result in his entry after the accession 
of Conor Mac Nessa. " Thereafter Ireland was parted into five, after the 
slaughter of Conaire the Great, son of Etarscel, in the Hostel of Da Derga, 
among Conchobar, son of Nessa, and Cairbre Nia Fer, and Tigernach Tet- 
bannach, and Dedad, son of Sen, and Ailill, son of Maga." 

The clan is attacked by a coalition of Conall Cernach and Cuchullin, 
Ulstermen, Curoi Mac Daire, a Munsterman, or, according to Professor Rhys, 
a Leinsterman,^ cet Mac Magach, one of the Gamanry, when they are in 
Connaught after their quarrel with Cairbre. Can this be the turning of tlie 
race of Fiac out of Tara, those who left their name to the " Ferta Fer Feic," 
the legend of settlement on land given by Meav being the historians' way of 
accoi;nting for their appearance afterwards in possession of great territories? 
It is not unlikely that Curoi MacDaire is confused with Curaidh, father of 
1 U.S.A. I., 1891, p. 655. 


Tinni, King of Connaught. Dare and Degad are also Olnegniacht names. 
Ferdiad was a grandson of Daru of the Clan Dega. 

The forms Mac De Dumnann used indifferently with Mac Domnann, and 
Tiiath Domnann used as equivalent to Fir Domnann in the Attacottic List, 
show that the Fir Domnann might be called Tuatha De Domnann. 

Though meaning literally " Tribes f)f Goddess Danu," I think that the term 
Tuatha De Danann meant only "Tribes of De Danu." De occurs as Deo in 
names of Pictish kings, Deo Ardivois, Deo Ord, Deo Cillimon.^ It seems to 
be used much as the Sanskrit Deva, a god, is used in combination with Hindu 
names as a title. Such a use is expressly stated in the Tain Bo Cuailgne.^ 
" ' The full blessing of both dee and andee be upon thee ! ' he said. Now 
'the people of power' at that time they rated as dee, 'gods,' and ' the people 
of ploughing' iis andee, 'non-gods.'" This is practically the use in Orissa 
now, among the Urva lords. As far as so small an indication justifies any 
argument, the use of De with Domnann connects the name in form with the 
Cruithne of Scotland. 

Domnu appears often in Britain in men's names, Duiiinoveros, Dumno- 
coveros, Cogidumnos, Togodumnos. These seem to be Latin equivalents of 
Domnubaru, Domnucubaru, Cugidomnu, Tugudomnu in Irish spelling. 
They occur in connection with Belgic tribes, and the word Domnu is not 
inflected. " Dumnonii " seems to represent such a form as Tuath or Fir 

As the Irish writers included the certainly Cruithne race of Ir among the 
Clanna Breogaiu, no weight attaches to their refusal of the name of Gael to 
the Domnonians. More weight is due to the name of Firbolg, but the term 
covers also the Firgaileoin, who were Cruithne. The legends on the whole do 
not justify a distinction between the Domnonians and the other great triljes. 
They seem to have been all Gaelic. 

The position of the Domnonians in Leinster, Tara, and Connaught, cutting 
the tribes of Ulster and Munster in two, overlying the Firgaileoin in Leinster 
and Breg, and their position in legend detached from the other tribes, mark 
some considerable difference, which is most likely due to their being the last 
great body of colonists in Ireland, avIio came from Britain after the first 
Gaelic settlers had been long established, and were an intrusive body, 
associated at least in later times with other foreign bodies who never became 
powerful, and consequently were absorbed and lost their identity. A body 
of Gaelic Domnonians leaving Britain under pressure of Belgic invasion 
would meet the conditions. So would a branch of the first colonists rein- 
forced from Britain. The legends indicate some such expansion. In 
spreading over Leinster, Breg, and Connaught they subdue Fomorach clans 
with the help of foreign soldiers. Then the Irian clans get the upper hand 
at times in Breg and north-central Ireland, perhaps owing to quieter times 
in Britain. A period of confused warfare follows, in which a large part is 
played by tribes under the name of Aithechtuatha, who left Britain in con- 
sequence of the Roman conquest. Tuathal Techtmar emerges as king of a 
great kingdom of Meath formed largely of the territory of Danonian clans. 
His descendants, if he and they are not the Domnonian kings of Connaught, 
get rid of or adopt those kings and conquer Ulster. 

1 " Irish Nennius," p. 159. ^ " CuchuUin Saga," p. 168. 


4. Identification of Tuatha De Daxann with Luighxe, 
Delbhna, and Cianacht. 

Tlie table of Danonian kings is open to objection only as to length of some 
reigns, not as to relationship and succession. Three generations, eighty to 
one hundred years, comprises their period. But for identification of some 
with gods and all with fairies, they would probably have gained a certain 
recognition. Mr. Alfred Nutt has cleared the way for recognition of their 
reality by his exposition of early Celtic religious views iti the "Voyage of 
Bran." He shows that the doctrine of rebirth allowed the Irish to believe 
at the same time — 

(a) That certain persons were gods. 

(b) That they were men. 

The belief that certain Danonians were rebirths of gods accounts for growth 
of myth about the clan. The chief men and gods had two names, as Lugli or 
the Samildana, Eochaidh Ollathair or the Daghda, Oengus or Macind Oc, 
Orbsen or Manannan. When the Danonians were no longer recognised as 
ancestors of existing families, it was an easy step to make them all gods and 

The Luighne of Connaught are also known as Clann Cein, tribal names 
applicable to the descendants of Cian, son of Diancecht, and of Lugh. Their 
alternative name Gailenga associates them with the Firgaileoin, who included 
the Danonians. C4ailenga in a narrower sense was applied to the family of 
O'Gara, kings of Sliabh Lugha, as Luighne was applied to the O'Hara branch 
of the Clann Cein. The place-names of their territory are largely attributed 
to tlie Danonians, as Magh Corann, Loch Ce, Sliabh Lugha, Magh Luirg of 
the Daghda, Magh Ai, &c., which, though not all in it, are in the territory the 
Danonians should have occupied during their supremacy in Connaught. 

According to their recent tradition, the Luighne of Meath and Connaught 
acquired their territories under Cormac Mac Art in the middle of the third 
century. But they were in Meath as Cairbre Nia Fer's subjects some two 
hundred years before. According to Tigernach and Cahir Mor's will, they 
killed Cahir Mor and Finn MacCumal in the second and third centuries. 
O'Flaherty's account of Cormac Mac Art and his relations with the ancestors 
of the Luighne and Gailenga are confused. The important point is that 
Cormac Mac Art was fostered by Lugni Firtri at Keshcorran, and took refuge 
with him when driven from Tara by Fergus. Lughni was there before 
Cormac's time.^ 

The Delbhna claimed descent from a Lughaid called Delbh Aodh, son of 
the Cas from whom came the Dalcais. As Cas's father, Conall Echluath, 
was King oi Munster a.d. 366, the occupation of Meath and Connaught by 
the Delbhna cannot have begun before the close of the fourth century. An 
intrusive Munster family could not have established itself so extensively in 
Meath and in Connaught at so late a period without leaving marks in history. 
Hisioiy does not supj^ort the tradition. The tale abstracted by O'Curry^ 
could not have arisen over a tribe established so close to the historic period. 
It is evidently invented to tack existing families to one of the great royal 

1 "Ogygia," p. 334. * " Manners and Customs," ii. p. 320. 


families. They could not annex themselves to the Eremonian families under 
whom they lived. These two descents of Luighne and Delbhna from Cian 
and Delbh Aodh pluce them in the race of Ailill Olum in tlie same relative 
positions as the descendants of Lngli and a Delbaeth in the Danonian race. 

Territorially, Tuatlia De Danann Luighne and Delbhna are closely con- 
nected. Luighne Gailenga Firgaileoin occupy the same country in ^leath 
and in Connaught. As Luighne and Delblma are side by side in Meath, 
so in Connaught Luighne lie nortli and Delbhna south of Magh Ai. Luighne 
and Cianacht, who claimed descent from the same Cian, son of Tadhg, 
occupied nearly all the county of Meath except Tara and the country of 
the Delbhna, and part of the county of Dublin ; they had Breg except Tara, 
that is, from the Liffey to Dromiskin, which, according to the Tripartite 
Life,^ was in the country of the Delbhna. Unless Delbhna and Cianacht 
are tribal names of the same race, it follows that one replaced the other. 
The Cianacht were there in historical times. According to their own 
tradition, the Delbhna could not have got there before the Cianacht. I see 
no reason to doubt the entry. It follows that Cianacht and Delbhna are the 
same, or that an older race of Delbhna occupied the country, which is not 

As the Cianacht are over the Delbhna about Dromiskin, so the Delljhna 
are over the Luighne in Delbhna Mor and Beg, according to the position of 
the Luighne in the Attacottic List. Ancient and modern Luighne, Gailenga, 
Cianacht, Delbhna, and Firgaileoin are inextricably mixed. 

The ascertained possessions of the Delbhna show that they Avere once 
a very great race. Their position in the kingdom of Meath agrees with the 
tradition that the Milesians ousted them from supremacy at Tara, and is 
parallel with that of the Conmaicne and their relatives the Kerry and others 
in respect of the Hy Briuin of Ai. 

5. The Gregraige and the Calraige. 

These tribes appeared between the period of Queen Meav and the fifth 
century. The Gregry of St. Patrick's time seem to occupy what they held 
according to the Attacottic List, that is, the historical kingdom of the Luighne 
and Tirerrill as far east as Moytura and Sliabh Da En, excepting Tirerrill 
and a small part of Corran. Hereafter the Annals mention kings of Gailenga 
and of Corcofirtri and of Luighne in that country, which at last is known as 
Luighne and Gailenga, and the Gregry are confined to the small tract called 
now the barony of Coolavin. , As 1 understand these legends and history, 
Corcofirtri and Luighne are but sections of the Gaileoin who were under the 
supremacy of the Gregry at first, but who rose over them. I take the 
Gregry to have been the dominant clan in St. Patrick's time, because they 
are mentioned about Lough Gara and at the Strand of Bally sadare, and 
because the other tribes do not appear until later. In the Book of Rights 
they pay a tribute equal to that of the Kerry, about half that of the Luighne. 
This seems to mark a stage in their declension. 

They claimed descent from Oengus Fionn, son of Fergus Mac Roig, but 

^ S.T.L., i. p. 77. 


the claim does not bear close investigation. They do not appear in the usual 
lists of his descendants, the Conniaicne and others not acknowledging the 
claim. I am inclined to think that their Oengus Fionn may be the king of 
Connaught of the Fircraibe race, who would suit in point of time fairly well, 
if they w-ere of that race at all, which I doubt. 

They and the Calry are so far alike that the Attacottic List acknowledges 
an extinct free race of Calry. The names of the tribal ancestors Crec and 
Cal seem Cruithne in character, and the Calry almost surround the Gregry 
territory, except where the Kerry adjoin. These facts dispose me to look 
upon Gregry and Calry as of earlier origin than Kerry and Conmaicne, in 
accordance with the family legend of the Calry descent from Ith. 

The Calry must have been a very powerful race at one time, judging from 
the great extent of territory occupied by them. There were Calry called 
of Moy hEleog in the parish of Crossmolina. In St. Patrick's time Calry of 
Coolcarney and of Innse Nisc occupied the eastern bank of the Moy in 
Tireragh.i The Calry of Murrisk had the rest of Tireragh eastwards. Under 
the names of Calry of Dartry, of Three Plains,^ and of Lough Gill, they held 
in St. Patrick's time all North Leitrim, and in Sligo the barony of Carbury 
except the peninsula of Coolerra. The Calry held out in Moylurg against the 
Hy Briuin for many generations. Calry were in Corran, and I suspect that 
when St. Patrick worked near Kesh that country was in possession of Calry 
under Hy Ailella, as the Calry all received him well except those of Tireragh. 
Important families of Calry remained till later times at Bri Leitli, near 
Ardagh, in the Co. Longford, with a branch in the barony of Brawney in 
Westmeath. After making allowance for petty families having attached 
themselves to a tribe of greater reputation, it is evident that they once were 
a great ruling family. 

6. Queen Medb and the Ailills. 

Queen Meave of the legends may be taken to stand to the real Queen 
Cleave as Grace O'Malley of the nineteenth century legends and novels stands 
to the Grainne ni Maille of the sixteenth century. 

Grace has become the chieftainess of the mighty Clan Malley, wielding 
imperial sway over the western seaboard, and visiting Queen Elizabeth as a 
sister sovereign. Her history and character are given in an article in the 
Journal of the Galway Arch, and Hist. Society, vol. iv. p. 65. 

Meave has been given several husbands, of whom the chief was Ailill Mor. 
It is not quite clear who he was, but he may be identified as a king of the 
Tuatha Taiden kingdom. 

The Ailills were numerous, and have l.ieen much mixed. Ailill Mac Mata 
was brother of Cairbi-e Nia Fer and Finn File, sons of Rossa Ruadh, King of 
Leinster. Ailill Mac Magach, King of the Gamanry, was his uncle, Mata 
being a daughter of that Magit of IMurrisk. These two Ailills are distinguished 
in the Tale of the Cherishing of Conall Cernach and in other tracts.-' But 
the Ailill Mac Magach killed by Conall Cernach is not the Ailill Find killed 
by Fergus Mac Roigh, a full brother of Cet Mac Magach. Magu may have had 

1 S.T.L., p. 251. 2 i,,i(j., 145, 328. 

* Zcitschrift fur Celtische Philologie, vol. i. p. lOG. 




more than one son called Ailill. There may have been several women named 
Magu. Names are much confused in these legends. 

According to O'FIaherty and Keating, Meave's first husband was Tinni, son 
of Conra or Curaidh. Conra or Conry or Curaidh I take to be the same name 
with the Cu inflected or uninflected. After his death she married Ailill Mor, 
and after his death lived with Ailill Find the Domnoniau, and with Fergus. 
Tinni was King of the Tuatha Taiden, ami became King of Connaught by 
killing Eocliy Allat, King of the Gamanry. Meave's Ailill is the person 

recognised ms King of Connaught after Tinni, and their son Maine is set up 
as King of Connaught after Ailill by the Tuatha Taiden and their allies.^ 
MacFirbis gives the names Tinni and Ailill, sons of Conra Cais, son of Cuir- 
rech, King of the Firbolgs. MacFirbis is quoted as stating that Ailill Mac 
Conraidh was of Kilmore Diutreb, which is the Kilmore in the barony of 
Ballintubber North in the Co. Roscommon,- and this Ailill is identified as a 
brother of Tinni, Meave's husband. The transactions are all intelligible if her 
husband was King of the Tuatha Taiden, but not if he was a brother of the 
King of Leinster imported to marry a Connaught king's widow. Such a 
King of Connaught is out of harmony with all Irish history. 

1 O'FIaherty, " Ogygia," pp. 267, 269, 277. 

2 R.S.A.I., vol. xii. p. 354. 


The tract on Cairpre Cindcliait^ and the Athach Tuatha describes 
Cairpre as " mac Dubtaig mic Tliothreachta niic Lnghair mic Oilella mic 
Maghach mic Gaill." This makes MaL,'U to be a man. But it shows that the 
Attacots were the royal tribes of Connaught, and that the early traditions and 
the early genealogists did not distinguish much between Milesians and 
Athachtuatha and mixed one Ailill readily with another. If this is correct, 
Cairbre Mac Main and Cairbre Cinnchait cannot be the same person. But 
Cairbres may be confused as well as Ailills. 

7. The Olnegmacht. 

Keating and O'Flaherty agree in the division of Connaught into three 
great kingdoms which did not extend east of the Shannon. 

I. From Limerick to the Palace of Fidach, or Fidach, under the Fir Craibe 
or Fir na Crailje. 

II. From the Palace of Fidach, or Fidach, eastwards towards Temair an 
Broga Nia in Leinster {i.e. Tara), under a clan of the Tuatha Taiden. 

III. From the River of Galway to DufF and Drowes, the kingdom of Irrus- 
domnann, under the Gamanraige. 

The Fir Craibe, Tuatha Taiden, and Gamanraige are the Oluegmacht. 
Criiachan was the possession of their chief king. 

The Fir Craibe are the cliief clan of the Clann Umoir, who occupied nearly 
all their kingdom and a considerable part of Irrusdoiiinann. 

The group of tribes comprised by the term Tuatha Taiden is not definitely 
stated, but O'Flaherty says that they were of the septs of Sliabh Furri, which 
is in the parish of Killeroran. From O'Flaherty's list of supporters of Maine 
I infer that their kingdom was almost exactly that of the Hy Maine in its 
greatest traditional extent up to Sliabh Badhghna. The Palace of Fidach, 
being a bound for them and for the Fir Craibe, should be somewhere near tlie 
border of the ancient Aidhne. 

The Gamanry were the reigning clan of Connaught when this Olnegmacht 
period opens. They built Rath Eocliaidh, afterwards called Cruachan, which 
I suspect to have become a general name for a royal fort. It seems to 
have taken its name from Eocliaidh Allat, King of the Gamanry of Irrus- 
domnann and King of Connaught, who was killed by Meave's husband Tinni. 
It is not necessary to supjDOse that this was the first occupation of that 
neighbourhood, only that the great fort was attributed to him. The Releg 
seems to be much older. 

Their kingdom of Irrusdomnann comprised the Clan Umoir tribes north of 
Galway and all the counties of Mayo and Sligo and North Leitrim, the 
countries of the Gregry and Calry. It may have included Roscommon nearly 
up to Cruachan. Ailill Find was livinc? in his fort in Crich Cairbre in the north 
of the district of the Kerry, when Fergus went to attack him.^ Fergus reached 
the Dun immediately after passing over Ath Feni. Ath Fen -was in Kerry 
territory, and I incline to think that it was a ford of the river Lung, and 
that Ailech Mor of the Kerry, close to Castlemore Costello, is the place 
meant. It answers the description. The proper country of tlie Gamanry 

^ licvue Ccltiqii^e, vol. xx. jj. 335. 

- " Irische Texte," 2nd Series, Part II. Tain Bo Flidais, 



themselves seems to have been much the same as that of the Hy Fiachrach, 
whom I take to be their descendants. But this is vague and uncertain. 

As the Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries 0/ /rt^cnw? contains articles 
in vols. XXX. and xxxi. giving in detail the reasons for the unusual views 
expressed in the text regarding the relations of the Conmaicne, Ciarraige, and 
Corcamoga, the Connachta, the Domnonians, and Eremonians, the connections 
of royal tribes with the great cemeteries of the Brugli, &c., tlie circumstances 
and period of the battles of Moytura, they are not repeated here. 

The conclusions are : — 

1. The legends of migration are vague, and in their present form incon- 
sistent with the general result of the legends, and cannot be relied on for the 
period or course of migration. 

2. At the beginning of the definite legendary period the Fomorach, Fer- 
domnann, and Tuatha De Danann were all long established in Ireland. The 
Ferdomnann were the last comers, if they did not all come together, as is most 
probable. They were all of the Gaelic tribes. 

3. Small bodies came from time to time from Britain and the Continent in 
aid of the Domnonians. They were absorbed in the Gaelic population if not 
themselves Gael. 

4. These tribes did not differ api^reciably in manners or culture. 

5. They are not clearly connected with the great galleried cairns. The 
evidence rather excludes a connection within this legendary period. 

6. The period l^egins not long before the Christian era. 

Tuatha De Danann Genealogy according to Keating. 














Diancecht. Bre 


is. Delbaeth. 














MacCuill, &c. 

Cairbre Cromm. 



A Variation. 






1 1 
Esarg. Delbaeth. 














The Firbolg Kings. 



I I I I I 

Slainge. Rudraige. Gann. Genann. Sengann. 

Starn. Rinnal. Sreng. Oidbgin. 

I I 

liaca Cennfionnain. Eocaid Mac Erca. 



16th March 1299. — "Ricard de Burgo, Earl of Ulster, and John, son of 
Thomas, formerly, at Atliljoy in Meath, before the Chief Justiciar of Ireland, 
on Wednesday after the Feast of St. Luke last, acknowledged a writing 
between them (in French) : 

"It is agreed between the noble barons Monsr. Richard de Burk, Earl of 
Uluester, and Monsr. Johan le fiz Thomas, whereas Sir John had taken 
the Earl and held him in prison at Lege for thirteen weeks. For which 
taking Sir John came to Athboy, in Mythe, to the Earl, on Wednesday after 
the Feast of St. Luke, a.r. XXVL, and acknowledged his trespass, and put 
himself at the Earl's will, and rendered to the Earl his castle of Lege, where 
the Earl was imprisoned, together with all his lands in Connacht, Uluester, 
and Uryel, and he has granted him the marriage of his eldest son. And the 
Earl grants protection of life and limb, but that he go into Uluester to 
remain in his prison at the Earl's will. And the Earl grants also that he 
will restore the increase and the freehold of the castle of Lege, but he have 
only simple seisin of the castle without other land. Also that Sir John's 
lands in Connacht, Uluester, and Uryel be valued by six chosen by the Earl, 
and six by Sir John ; and if these twelve cannot agree, they shall choose one 
or two on each side to arrange their difference. And when tliese valuations 
shall be made. Sir John shall deliver to the Earl six score librates of land as 
amend for his trespass, to hold to the Earl and his heirs quit of Sir John 
and his heirs, who are to warrant them. And the Earl shall have all the 
remainder of Sir John's lands in Connacht, Uluester, and LTryel to him and 
his heirs ; so that the lands in Tyrconel remain in seisin of Sir John, and the 
Earl shall implead them, and if he recover them, he may hold them quit for 
all time. And if these lands remain to Sir John by judgment, then Sir John 
shall render to the >]arl tliese lands, and the Earl shall make exchange in 
Leynester and Mounester, according to the valuation. And for all other 
1 " Cal. Justiciary Rolls Ireland, 1295-130.3," p. 234. 


lands of Sir John in Connacht, Uluester, and Uryel beyond the said six score 
librates of land, and the land of Tyrconel, the Earl without delay shall make 
to Sir John exchange in Leynester and Mounester in a convenient place, 
according to the valuation. Sir John to retain the lands in Connacht, 
Uluester, and Uryel until the valuations be made, and likewise the letters to 
deliver seisin. The valuation to commence on tlie morrow of the new year, 
both parties to help their being made without delay. The Earl also grants 
that he shall marry one of his marriageable daughters to the son of Sir John, 
if it jjlease him, before the new year, and if the marriage do not please the 
Earl, he shall give back his son unmarried at the day named. And Sir John, 
so soon as the Earl shall have released him from prison, shall do homage to 
the Earl, and shall bind himself and his heirs to serve the said Earl and his 
heirs for all time, saving the fealty to the King of England. And it is 
granted on both sides that as soon as the aforesaid things are accomplished, 
all the contests and ill Avill which Avere between them in the past and tlie 
recognizances made before Monsr. Williame Doddingeseles be released and 
annulled on both sides, but that Sir John de la Mare have the prison one 
year. In witness, the parties put their seals to this indented writing. 

"Afterwards, at complaint of the Earl that John put off procuring tlie 
valuers to be chosen by him, the Sheriff of Kildare was commanded to 
summon him, at his manor of Mayuotli, to be here at this day, to show why 
the things in this writing should not be observed, and why the King, on his 
default, should not cause the tenements to be valued. 

"And the Earl and John now come, and Jolin cannot deny that he is in 
fault in that the extents are not yet made. And by license he gives to the 
Earl six score librates of land in his manors of Loghmesk, Dunmouhgherne, 
Kylcogen, Slygagh, Bende, Creghcarby, and Fermanagh, in amend for his 
trespass, and he grants them to the Earl for ever. And he and his heirs will 
warrant the Earl and his heirs. And besides, John gives to the Earl all the 
rest of his manors, and all his lands in Connacht, Ulster, and county of Louth, 
in exchange for the tenements which the Earl will give him, according to the 
purport of the first writing. 

" And the Earl will give to John his lands in his manors of Balydunegan, 
Typeraght, and Tristellaveragh. And if those are not sufficient, the Earl 
giants that what is deficient be extended and added to John in his manor of 
Lysrotheragh, and if that be not sufficient, then in the Earl's manor of 
Grellagh, to the value of said tenements of John, beside the said six score 
librates in said exchange. Each will warrant to the other the tenements 
given in exchange. Persons shall be assigned by the Kin<^'s Court to take 
the extent by the valuers chosen by the parties. The valuers shall come to 
Kylcolgen in Connacht in the morrow of the close of Easter to begin the 
extent, and shall remain until it is finished. If either make default in 
bringing the valuers, then those assigned by the court shall cause other 
valuers to be chosen. And when the lands to be exchanged are valued, then 
those assigned by the King's Court shall deliver seisin of the tenements as 
well to John as the Earl, who shall each make letters of quit-claim to one 
another. John to have writs of assistance to distrain his valuers to come. 
These are named by the court to make the extents on the part of the Earl : 
"Walter de la HaA'e, escheator of Ireland, and John de Ponte, justice ; and on 


the i)att of John : Simon de Ludgate, justice, and Will, de Barry. They are 
to certify the Chief Justiciar in the octave of Holy Trinity what they have 

" John acknowledged and granted that all covenants had between the Earl 
and Theobald le Botellier and his confederates on one part, and John on the 
other, before Will, de Oddyngeseles, late Chief Justiciar, except the covenants 
here contained, be of no effect." 



These Inquisitions are in the Public Record Office in London, catalogued as 
Chancery Inquisitions Post Mortem, 7 Edw. III., No. 39. Those relating to 
Connaught have been the subject of an article in the Journal of the B.S.A.I., 
vols. 32, 33. Only the parts relating to Mayo are given here. 

Inquisition taken at Clare before John Morice, the King's Escheator in 
Ireland, on 8th December, 7th Edward III., on oath of Hugh de Lecto, Adam 
Laules, Philip, son of Gilbert de Angulo, John de Stanton, Richard, son of 
Henry de Burgo, Robert Dondewnyll, Simon de Barry, Eichard, son of 
David de Burgo, Hubert, son of Gilbert de Burgo, Moyler, son of Richard,^ 
Richard de Burgo, William, son of Richard Barrett, and Philip de Rocliford, 
jurors, who say, &c. 

Cantred of Crigfertur. 

24s. 6d. from one theodum in Crigf which the heir of John Prendre- 

gast holds freely. 

30s. from nine townlands, which the heir of that John holds freely. 

6s. 8d. from two townlands, but now nothing. 

Gs. 8d. from two townlands, which John Prendregast holds freely. 

10s. from two townlands in Aithyn Athmegorych, which William Pren- 
dregast holds freely. 

66s. 8d. from one theodum in Tyrnaghtyn, which the same William holds 

17s. lOd. from Balykenaw,^ but now nothing. 

Courts of Terneyn and Ternaghtyn, 40s., but now nothing, because the 
lordship of those Courts is granted to William Prendregast by the letter of 
the Lord William de Burgo, late Earl of Ulster, being under age. 

Total of old value of this cantred, parcel of the manor of Loghry, 
£10, 2s. 4d. 

Total of value now, £6, 16s. 4d. 


Cantred of Ker. 

£13, 6s. 8(1. from the cautred of the Ker. 

66s. 8d. from half a cantred in Fertyr and Clancowan, which the heir of 
Peter de Cogan holds freely. 

£6, 13s. 4d. from Adlayu for lialf the cantred of Lowyu, Ity John de 

Total value now of tliese cantreds, parcel of the manor of Loghry, 
£23, 6s. 8d. 

Cantred of Owyl. 

Inquisition taken before John Morice, Escheator of Ireland, at Athenry, 
on the last day of December, in seventh year of King Edward III., by the 
oath of Bernard de Staunton, Knight, John de Stauntone, Knight, John de 
Exeter, I'obert Gaynard, Maurice Gaynard, Eobert Cleik, Thomas Dolfyn, 
William Walslie, William Seman, Thomas Glyse, William de Attliy, and 
Richard Dolfyn, jurors, who say, &c., that there is — 

£10 from one cantred in Owyl Botiller, by John le Botiller. 

£10, 13s. 4d. from four townlands which John de Burgo held. 

£10, 13s. 4d. from four townlands which Onayl ^ held. 

£16, 13s. 4d. from seven townlands which Robert Laweles holds. 

53.S. 4d. from one townland in Myntraghyn, which William de Burgo of 
Owyl holds. 

40s. from Knappaiigy. 

Total of value of this cantred of Owyl, parcel of the manor of Loghry, 
£52, 13s. 4d. 

Cantred of Bak and Glen. 

£13, 6s. 8d. from the cantred of Bak and Glen, which the heirs of William 
Baret hold freely. 

13s. 8d. from one townland in Irchloghton, now nothing. 

22s. from one to\vnland of Cabragh * and Raytrayny. 

lis. 8d. from one quarter in Corbeggau.* 

10s. 4d. from one quarter in Lissarewel.* 

lis. 8d. from one quarter in Cathy rleilan. 

2s. from Inchawyn, by Richard Baret. 

12s. from Row, by Thomas, son of Philip Baret. 

6d. from a jjiece of land, by Geoffrey Martyn. 

Tenants in Rathberk i)ay six crannocs of oats for suit of the loi'd's mill, in 
ordinary years worth 40s. 

Total of old value of these cantreds, parcel of the manor of Loghry, 
£19, 7s. 2d. 

Total of value now, £18, 13s. lOd.' 

Cantred of Tvraulyf, Orrus, Tyromoy, and Condummor. 

£13, 6s. 8d. from the cantred of Tyraunlyf.^ 

26s. 8d. from one townland in Casteldunghy,'' now nothing. 

llOs. from one townland in Carne. 


Pleas and perquisites of the Court, 4s. 

£13, 6s. 8d. from one cantred of Orrus,!" wliicli Jolmde Exeter holds in fee. 
£13, 6s. 8d. from the cantred of Tyrremoy,^' now nothing. 
40s. from three townlands in Duncoghy,!'' now nothing. 
£13, 6s. 8d. from the cantred of Condommor,^' now nothing. 
£4, 10s. from three townlands in Leyghuyl,^* now nothing. 
Total of old value of these cantreds, parcel of the manor of Loghry, 
£66, 17s. 4d. 

Total of value now, £32, 7s. 4d. 

Cantred of Sylmolron (Castle of Toberbride). 

SleoJlowA^ — £20 from the cantred of Sleofiow, but now nothing. 

66s. 8d. from one theodum in Arkagh,^* now nothing. 

66s. 8d. from one theodum in Kerymoyng," and Keryloghnayrn, but now 

66s. 8d. from Caryoghtragh , Init now nothing. 

Total of old value of this cantred, parcel of the manor of Loghry, £30, 
now nothing. 

There is another church at Owylj^s taxed at 6 marks, whose advowson and 
presentation belonged to the Earl and will belong to his heirs. 

There are other lands in Counaught, Ulster, and other parts of Ireland 
which are among the Irish, and none can go to them to value them or take 
any profit, because the Irish among whom they lie will not allow any minister 
of the king or any other Englishman to manage them. 


The difference between the old value when the Earl was alive and 
the present value marks the disorder which arose when murder removed his 
strong hand. ^ The entry should be Moyler, son of Richard de Burgo, making 
twelve jurors as in other inquisitions. ^ Ballykinave. ** Mistake for Omayl, 
O'Malley. * Cabragh near Inishcoe. ° Corraveggaun in Ballynahaglish. * Lis- 
farrell was name of a "town" which included Rathbaun in Ballynahaglish in 
seventeenth century. '' The items suggest disappearance of an intermediate tenure. 
"^ Tirawley here seems to be only the Barrett estate in Ballysakeery, Kilmoremoy, 
and Killala. ^ Castlenageeha This and next two items seem to represent part 
of the great Cusack estate. '" Erris. ^^ The Bermingham manor of Ardnarea. 
^^ Donicoy in Tireragh. ^-^ Dun Maic Conchobhair, now Castleconor. An indis- 
tinct mark of contraction is over the " Con " here and above. ^* Lisladhguill, 
obsolete, in Dromard parish. This and Duncoghy seem to represent the Cusack 
manor of Coolcnaw. i* Sliabh Lugha. '® Artagh. '" Kerry of Moynee. '* Church 
of Burrisool. 






Division of Connaught into Counties and Baronies, with Notes 
OF Chief Countries and Special Castles.^ 

Mayo — MacWilliam Eighter, chief. 


. MacVadin's lands. 

. MacJordan's lands, alias Baron Dexeter. 

. MacCostello. 

. MacMorris's lands. 

. MacWilliam Enter and other Lower Bourkes. 

. O'Maly's country. 

. MacPhilpin and others. 

. The Barretts' lands. 

The Principal Castles of Mayo are : — 

Moroghny do 0' Flaherty e's. 
The Queen's, lately won by me in June, 
llichard Inerj'n Burk's. 
Earl of Clanricard's. 
MacTibbot Burke's. 
(This was drawn up by Sir E. Fitton.) 

Moyne , 






Eosse ' 




Ballynonagh , 
Burrishwj'le . 
Ballelaghan . 
Moyne . 

The following particulars are taken from the Division of Connaught and 
Thomond of 1574. The s^^elling is modernised when there is no doubt of 
what is meant. The modern names of places, when different, are given in 
the last column. 

The Barony of Crossboyne, which containeth MacMoris's comitry, 9 miles long 
and 8 miles broad. MacMoris chief in the same. 


MacMoris of 

Walter Oge MacMoris 

Moyler MacMoris 

Richard MacMorris . 
Edmund MacKorie ^ 
Walter Ose MacRorv 


Castle Macgarrett. 




Castle Barnan. 


Castle Reagli. 

Modern Name. 

Brees G 


1 S.P.I.E., vol. XXX., No. 81. 1570. 

2 These are MacErudderys ; FitzSimon their English surname. 



MacMoris of 

James Reogh MacMoris 


Castles, 10. 

Modern Name. 

The Barony of Kilmaine, containing Conmaicne Cuile and lochtar Tir, 10 miles 
lonij and 8 broad. JFilliam Burke FitzJohn, Edmund Burke MacThomas 
Vaghery, and the Clan Jonyns, chief in the same. 


Robert O'Kelly, Coinarb of 
Davy MacJonyn 
MacWilliaiii Burke . 
Gilladuff MacJonyn . 
Brian boy MacDonnell 
William Burke. 
Ulick Burke . 
Tybbot MacGilibon . 
William MacGibl)on 
Edmund Burke of . 
Alexander Kettagh . 
Mac William Burke . 
Richard MacMoyler. 
Ricard MacSeane Termon 

William MacJonick Mac- 
Tybbot MacMoyler . 
Cosry and Shane MacEgam 
Richard MacMoyler Clere 

Hugh MacJonyn 
Walter MacRemon . 
Richard boy MacJonyn 
Walter MacJonyn . 
Moyler Burke . 
Redmund MacJonyn 
William Burke of 
Shane MacJonyn 
Moyler Burke of 
Edmund boy MacJonyn 
MacWilliam Burke . 
Walter MacTibbot . 

Walter MacFiegh 


Bally Lough Mask. 
Creevagh . 
New Castle 

Moynegrevagh . 

The Neale. 
Castle Marty n . 
Two new castles by 

the same. 
Castle Kilvean. 






The Cross. 








Modern Name. 


Not identified. 


At Ballinrobe, where 

cavalry barracks are. 
Caherduff C. in Cong. 

In Ballymartin. 

Kilkeeran in Kilraaine- 

In Frenchbrook T. L. 


In Creevagh T. L., 
Kilmolara P. 

Liskillen ? 




Daw Burke 
Mac J oil yn More 
Kichard Mac J on vu 


Hubert MacJonyn 
Walter MacJonvn 


Cas tlelou gli m ask 

Creg Duff . 
Castles, 41. 

Modern Name. 

Hag Island Castle in L. 

Castle Hag in Lough 

Near Ballinrobe. 
Not identified. 

The Barony of Ross, containing the Joyes, Walshes, and Partriche's lands, 12 miles 
long and 8 broad. MacThomus and MacTybod chiefs in the same. 

Modern Name. 

. Close to Petersburgh 

. Kilkeeran, Ballyovey 

. Now Partry House, 
Ballyovey parish. 

. Not identified. 


Murrogh ne doo 


Abbe MacEnvile 

Richard MacMoyler Joy 





Castlenew . 

Castles, 5. 

The Barony of Murrisk, containini/ Owleymale and the Islands, viz. : Inishturk 
and Inishoirke, Clare and Atikilles. O'Malley chief in the same. 


O'Malley of 

and of 
Shane O'Malley of . 

Melaghlin O'.Malley , 
Cornmc O'Malley 
Teige Roe O'Malley 




Island Quartermore 

Clare Island. 

Castles, 6. 

Modern Name. 
Now Westport House. 

Probably the Carrow- 
more, near Louisburgh, 

Kildavnet Castle. 

The Barony of Bures, which containeth Oivle C'lane Philjn7i, Oivle Ewghter and 
Sliocht MacTibhot's lands, 10 miles long and 4 miles broad, Richard an 
larainn chief in the same. 



Modern Name. 

Richard an larainn of 

. Burrishoole. 

Tybbot MacPhillipin 

. Bruygh 

. Probably near Carrow- 

MacPhillipin . 

. Doon. 


Enis MacTiriloghroe 

. Akle . 

. MacPhilbin's Castle, Aille 



Tirlagli roe 
Richard Burke. 
Phelini Mac Tirlaghroo 
Rory MacDonnell . 

Kaergeney . 

Castles, 8. 

Modern Name. 
Calierikeeny in Islan- 

Tlie Barony of Invermore, containing Erris and Dundonnell, 12 miles long 
and 5 broad. MacVadin chief in the same. 

Edmund Barrett 
Doghdalla Barrett . 
Edmund Barrett 
William Burke MacMoyler 
MacVadin's Sept 

Coragher . 

Castles, 5. 

Modern Name. 
Not identified. 

Near Termoncarrayh. 

The Barony of Moyne, containing Tirawley and the Cusacks' country, 15 miles 
long and 10 broad. John MacOliveriis, alias MacWilliam, and MacVadin 
called the Baron Barrett, chief in the same. 

Richard Bariett 

Walter Burk . 
Walter Burke . 
Walter MacHuLert . 
Richard MacOliverus 
Richard Burke . 
Richard FitzOliverus 
Anthony Burke 











Roiiallagh . 

Castles, 11. 

Modern Name. 
Not identified. 


The Barony of Burriscarra, containing Clancuan, Carra, and Moijnter Creghan. 
MacWilliam Burke and MacPhillipin chief in the same. 

Walter MacPhillipin 

Edmund Burke of . 
Richard Burke . 
Walter Burke . 
Thomas Burke . 
William Keigh Burkt 
Walter MacEnvile . 

Newcastle, by Castle- 


Modern Name. 

Not identities 




Eichard an larainu . 
Ricliaid MacDavy ilac- 

Tybot MacWilliam . 
Mylle MacEnvile 
Tiiomas Burke . 
Donuell MacDonnell 
Thomas Keigh Burke 
Marcus Mac en Abbe 
Ricard MacUlick Athera . 
Walter Mac en Abbe 
Ulick MacUlick Athera . 
Lord Bremingham . 
William Burke FitzJohn . 
Miles MacEnvile 


Kilvonell . 
Kilvonyde . 
Castles, 24. 

Modern Name. 


. Xewbr(^ok House. 
. Hollymount House. 

Not identified. 
Not identified. 

The Barony of Balbjlahan, containing Gallenga, 10 miles long and 6 broad. 
MacJorda7i, alias Baron Dexefer, chief in the same. 


Jouyn MacThomas . 
Sleight Henry . 
MacJordan's son 
Sleight Henry . 
Sleight Henry . 
Walter FitzStej^hen . 
Edmund FitzStephen's son 
MacJordan ne Kelle 
Walter FitzStephen . 


Short Castle 
New Castle. 
Bella vary. 
Clanvara . 
Castles, 12. 

Modern Name. 

Old Castle. 
Ballinamore ? 
Not identified. 

Not identified. 

The Barony of Ballyhaunis, containing Clancostello, 12 miles long and 5 broad. 
MacCostello, alias Baron Nangle, chief in the same. 

MacCostello of . 

MacCostello of . 



Castles, 5. 

Modern Name. 
Cashlaunna Drancaddha. 





The followin,^ is an extract from a small volume of parchment leaves in an 
old binding, which was in the possession of the Bishop of Clogher in the 
seventeenth centurj-, and is now in the library of Trinity College, Dublin, 
marked F4.13.A. It is entitled "Historia et Genealogia Familise de Burgo.''" 
A translation by Hennessy is in the same library. 

It begins with this extract, which is followed by a historical pedigree of 
Sir John Bourke, in which appears the date " 1578 which now is." The 
earliest ancestors seem to be imaginary. Baldwin de Burgo, of the family of 
the Counts of Flanders, King of Jerusalem, comes in as a con<|ueror in the 
East, King of the Saracens, and is made father of William who came to 
Ireland, from whom tlie descent is carried down correctly to Sir John, with 
notes regarding each ancestor. Considerable space is given to Sir William de 
Burgo's actions in the de Clare and Bruce wars, closing this part of the book. 
Many blank leaves follow. 

Then come four coloured pictures of the Judgment and Crucifixion, and 
coloured pictures of Richard, son of AVilliam Conquer, and his descendants, 
ancestors of Sir John, excepting his father Oliverus. 

A page is given to each figure. A short note of the name, with a few 
particulars sometimes, tells who is represented. The figures are all elabo- 
rately coloured, some in civil and some in military dress, the latter \\ earing a 
conical helmet without a crest. Sir John alone is on a horse, wearing conical 
helmet and long shirt of mail, carrying a long spear. He has no sword, and 
his shield is on one side. All the others carry sword and shield. 

The page where Oliverus should be is headed "Arms of Clann William." 
Below is the shield, gold with a red cross, a black lion in the right and a 
white or natural hand in the left upper quarter. A heraldic helmet bears 
the hand as a crest. The hand shows a very short cuff in all cases. The 
shield has a mantling of foliage in red, green, and white, and is supported 
by two bird-beaked griffins of green with red and green wings. All the 
shields are alike in charges and colour. 

The next page is blank but for a small note at head — " Place of Oliverus 

After the figure of Sir John comes a very long poem in honour of Sir 
John and of' all his ancestors, a metrical and highly imaginative version of 
the previous prose history. This is followed by many blank leaves, after 
which come copies of three documents of December 1584 and January 1585, 
recording agreements between Walter Kittagli Bourke and some Barretts. 

Taking the shield of arms and the date of compilation, it may be inferred 
that the book w^as prepared with regard to the proposal that Sir John and his 
son should be made peers. The arranL;ement of contents and blank leaves 
suggests that space was left for additional matter as it might be found or 
prepared, such as the Barrett agreement. 

The statements of MacWilliam's dues are drawn up in a confused forn:. 


not tlie result of a detailed survey, bv embodiment of ancient writings with 
abstracts of existing rights, so well known that detail was unnecessary. 

So far as they relate to this county they may be taken as generally 
accurate, being supported at several points by independent evidence, and not 

MacWilliam'.s mensal lands in the barony of Kilmaine, in the three 
divisions of Oonmaicne-Chuile, Muinter Creachain, and Oireacht Thomais, 
seem to be taken from some old record, as those lists of townlands serve no 
apparent purpose, and are not even exhaustive of the territory as regards the 

My extracts are taken jjartly from an independent translation and partly 
from W. M. Hennessy's translation, but I have not followed his rendering of 
names of places, which is neither quite English nor quite Gaelic. The 
modern form is given when there is no doubt of the place meant, and when 
there is an established English spelling, the Irish spelling in doubtful cases. 
The names show places, not extents. 

Excepting O'Dowda's rent, the money rents seem to be old rents due by 
freeholders of early times to superior lords whose titles had been acquired 
by Sir William Liath and the MacWilliams. 

Military service or risings out are due by those chieftains who, though not 
within the county, acted usually with MacWilliam Eighter in the Connaught 
wars, O'Conor Roe and MacDermot and O'Kelly. They seem to be the 
result of alliance rather than of subordinate tenure, and these relations and 
services seem to have lapsed by the middle of the sixteenth century. 

]\IacThomas Joy and Ross do not appear, because O'Flaherty held that 
country, from MacWilliam as it was considered, but free of rent and service. 

The MacMorrises maintained a position of independence of MacWilliam 
Eighter, claiming in 1585 to hold of the Earls of Clanricard. 

HisTORiA ET Gexealogia Famili.e de Burgo. 

MacWilliam's jjroperty ; and it is too little. 

Mac William's country here, viz. : from Furbough in the west of Con- 
naught, in Muinter-Flaherty's country, to Ballymacscanlan near Dundalk, 
and from Lowhid ^ in Thomond-O'Brien to Bullyshannon near the Erne ; 
and from the city of Limerick to Waterford. And he had himself four other 
counties as his inheritance, which are called shires in England, and the 
county of Kilkenny and the county of Tipperary, and from Barna on the 
south side of the west of Connaught to Inishark on the north side of Ubhall- 
O'Maille, and there is some of this Lordship in InishbofRn , and the 

province of Ulster, and the province of Connaught in length and breadth 
from sea to sea. And MacWilliam is Earl of the j^rovince of Ulster, and Lord 
of the province of Connaught. 

Richard the second MacWilliam of Clann Ricaird — he is not of the family 
of the heirdom, for he is the second son of Richard Mor ; and for that reason 
Clann Ricaird belongs to MacWilliam lochtar, because it is he that is of the 
family of the rightful heir, as Richard the first, and these are his residences, 
viz. : Bally Loughrea when it is pleasing to God, and Bally Loughmask 
and Kinlough and Ballinrobe. And it was his ancestor that constructed 


Ballyniote, and New Castle of Inishowen, and the seven towers in Banada of 
Leyny, where tlie Gael made a monastery of those towers, and ^loyculla ^ in 
the west of Connaught to the west of Galway. And it was his ancestors that 
had the province of Galway, and it belongs to himself when it pleases God 
and the Prince, as likewise the two Ca[ ] Bracons, the least that are bad 
in Galway, and five hundred herrings from the Great Bac. And to prove 
this the fish cannot be divided even to-day in the place until a part of the 
fish is given to the Earl [ ] as alms for his own soul. 

It is not to this writing which we have left behind us outside on the 
other side of this leaf that we yield or give credence, as it is on our con- 
science, but to Almighty God, and to the truth as we have seen it written, 
and that there were not (left unfinished in original). 

And certainly as we liave seen written the country of MacWilliara, and 
of his Ancestors before him, is from Furbough to Ballymacscanlan near 
Uundalk, and from Lowhid in Thomond unto Ballyshannon near the Erne, 
and from the city of Limerick to Waterford, which the Red Earl liad 
together with four other counties he had as inheritance [which in English 
are called Shires], and the coiinty of Kilkenny and the county of Tipperary. 

Over here are his mensal lands, and their own baronies aftersvards. 

Here are the mensal lands of Mac William Burk, viz. : Conmaicne- 
Chuile, and Muinter Crechain, and Oireacht Thoraais. 

Let us speak at first of the pobble of Walter Burk's family, viz. : the 
two bailies of Ath Cuirc,^ and the two bailies of the Turlach, and the half- 
bally of the Creevagh,'* and the half-bally of Carn Calain, and the bally of 
Coollisduff,^ and the Ballytrasna,* and the bally of Raliard,^ and the bally of 
the Tuath Riabhach, and the half-bally of Knockglass,' and Baile na Creiga, 
and the bally of Lisnamairgech, and the bally of EUistron/ and the bally 
of Moneycrower,* and the bally of Dunmuirne, and the bally of Ardmoran,' 
and the half-bally of Knockroe,^ and the half-bally of Cluain Conghail, and 
the Ballytrasna, and the half-bally of Lisnaheighnighe,i° and the quarter of 

The pobble of the sejit of Thomas Burk, viz. : Ballycurrin,* and the two 
Ballymacgibbons,* and Ballyshinnagan, and the bally of Cluainanansin, and 
the bally of Lisuaimbelaigh, and Ballybackagh,' and the bally of Moycarha,^^ 
and the bally of Mimfhaelanduis, and the bally of Maghcalgaigh," and Baile 
Dealgach,^^ and Ballycusheen,^ and the bally of Lisnarod,'-' and Ballynulty,^ 
and the bally of Coolnagashell,'^ and the bally of Kilbrenan," and the three 
quarters of Kilbrenan, and the half -bally of Gortbrack. 

This is the pobble of Muinter Crechain, viz. : the bally of Coolcon," 
and Baile Cartharach,i* a^^ Baile na nUltanach,^'' and the bally of Brittas,^^ 
and the bally of Coolishel,^® and the bally of Kilkeeran,!'' and the bally of 
Lehinch,^^ and the bally of Rahard,^'' and the Baile Blaedhach,^^ and the 
bally of Kilglassan,^' and Baile MicKiba, and the bally of Dairecondila," and 
the half-bally of O'Mungan," and the half-bally of Rathgranagher,* and these 
three are one bally, and the bally of Skealoghan,^^ and the bally of Muinoch- 
traigh, and Ballymartin,* and Ballynakeeragh, and the half-bally of Cuille- 
satuirn," and the half-bally of Ballaghboy, and th